Riding high with ekasi stories
UKHOZI FM's drive-time show Sekunjalo is one the biggest drive-time shows in the radio broadcasting industry. It is presented by Sipho Mbatha, better known as DJ Sgqemeza (meaning big head), and boasts a whopping 1.9-million listeners.
With 13 years of experience on the airwaves, Sgqemeza started his radio career in 1999 as a newsreader for various community radio stations like the Voice of Wits and Durban Youth Radio, before joining Ukhozi FM in 2003, initially as a newsreader.
Apart from his three-hour slot on air, Mbatha also owns a gardening and cleaning services company called Mbatha PS Productions. He is also a freelance MC.
The 33-year-old DJ hails from KwaCeza in KwaZulu-KwaZulu Natal but grew up in Kwandengezi, west of Durban. He now lives in Johannesburg's northern suburbs.
Mablerh - real name Blessing Cele - who co-hosts the show, which airs from 3pm to 6pm on week days, with Sgqemeza describes him as loud and talkative but a sensitive person.
I had the opportunity to visit the show recently as a guest to listen-in, behind the scenes of the popular drive-time show.
My time with Sgqemeza kicked off on a delightful note, with the inspirational slot where people share their stories to help those who might be going through similar experiences.
"People can do things and not care about the outcomes, only to regret later, so we give them the platform to tell others and to also get advice.
"These are ordinary people from across South Africa helping other citizens (with their stories)," explainsSgqemeza.
The topic of that day was: The day that I saw that God exists, where Sgqemeza was seeking powerful testimonies.
The lines flashed immediately as soon as Sgqemeza introduced the topic, with listeners talking about the goodness that God has brought into their lives.
One of the callers spoke of a time when people were sent to kill her but she survived the attack by the grace of God. Another listener related a tragic tale of how she was shot 10 times on her spinal cord and told that she would never walk again, But with faith in God, she is happy to have regained the use of her legs and is now happy after being blessed with a job.
Sgqemeza and Mablerh also give celebrities the opportunity to give vent to the bad publicity they receive in the media.
I listened in as they called Thato Molamu, who plays Nicolas in Generations about a recent story in the media that he had not been paid for an appearance at the Sixties Party in Nelspruit early this month.
At the time, Molamu confirmed he was still waiting to be paid. Another celebrity, also fromGenerations, was actor Siyabonga Radebe, aka Xolani on rumours that he had beaten up an oldwoman at a petrol station. Radebe went on to vehemently deny the reports.
My highlight of the show was studio guest Ibhubesi Elimhlophe, a younger version of Johnny Clegg, who was there to promote his album.The Englishman danced and sang in the studio with his broken isiZulu lyrics.
He was so popular he got a five out of five rating from the listeners. At the end of the show, I learnt a lot from ordinary people about sharing typical ekasi stories and encouraging the spirit of ubuntu.