DJ Fresh:'I was fired over word that does not exist'

DJ Fresh (real name Thato Sikwane) will host 947's new drivetime show, Fresh on 947./Veli Nhlapo
DJ Fresh (real name Thato Sikwane) will host 947's new drivetime show, Fresh on 947./Veli Nhlapo

"The biggest irony of everything here is that I was fired for using a word that didn't
exist."

This is how DJ Fresh, real name Thato Sikwane, reflected on his roller-coaster six-week suspension from Metro FM that culminated in his firing for the use of the word "m*****y" on air.

The Big Dawg, as he's affectionately referred to by his cult followers, welcomes me with his big tattooed arms at his new den, 947 - nestled in the heart of Sandton.

He seems to already be settling in, following the announcement on Monday that he will join the regional radio station from August 1. Fresh is greeted with hugs and adoration as he walks the corridors of the station.

He admits that the word that was red-flagged by the Broadcasting Complaints Commission of South Africa (BCCSA) will most likely make its way into the urban dictionary.

But he vowed to never use the word again.

"Offence is in the eye of the taker, not the giver. It's not my place to say people are being unreasonable," he says.

"I'm not going to use that word. People who know me know that I don't believe in
using words gratuitously. I'm not that guy.

"People mustn't get excited about the use of offensive language. It has never been cool."

He says during his time off he had a lot of time to look at "the man in the mirror".

Fresh says he has no regrets about anything, but he will take the lessons that came with the period.

"I don't have a regret, but I think it's regrettable how everything worked out. We didn't have to be here," he says.

"More often when you go through something [like this] it's the time that you get to
reflect a lot. You get to meet yourself and see yourself with your clothes off - see who is in your corner. For me, it's very clear who is and [is] not in my corner."

So who is in his corner?

He says he received calls from politicians including Julius Malema, Fikile Mbalula and Mzwandile Masina to check up on him.

Fresh confesses that during the six weeks of his suspension his lowest moment came in week two. It dawned on him that he didn't want to go back to Metro FM. "Week two everything could have been solved and ended. So for me the sadness is in all of that. It was all unnecessary."

Fresh was first tipped to join 947 two years ago after departing 5fm, but decided to settle on a move to Metro FM.

"I'm not going to turn around and say my time at Metro was miserable," he says.

"It was not. I think we made beautiful radio and touched a lot of lives. I have zero regrets about going to Metro."

With the help of his wife and radio personality Thabiso Sikwane, Fresh reveals that his five kids were kept in the loop about everything.

"They have access to the internet. I make sure they don't find out everything on the internet," he says. "We will sit them down and let them know I've been fired so you can't eat Nando's on Friday. On Friday we cook now."

The new afternoon drive show, Fresh on 947, alongside Mantsoe Pout, will give him the opportunity to spend time with his kids in the morning.

"My son is four and his entire life he has never woken up with me there, so he noticed. Those are the things you take for granted," he says.

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