Mroza's growth in radio a blessing for rural youth

Ukhozi FM star passionate about community development

Ukhozi FM radio presenter Nonhlanhla "Mroza" Buthelezi.
Ukhozi FM radio presenter Nonhlanhla "Mroza" Buthelezi.
Image: Supplied

To millions of Ukhozi FM breakfast show listeners, Nonhlanhla “Mroza” Buthelezi is one of the captivating voices that make them look forward to the day.

But to the people of Edokodweni in Gingindlovu, KwaZulu-Natal, Buthelezi is a pride and hope of the community. Moreover, she is an idol and big sister to young people of her home area. When visiting her home, Buthelezi makes many stops along the way before reaching home because everyone just adores her.

Mroza, as she's better known, hosts Vuka Afrika Breakfast Show with Sipho “Sgqemeza” Mbatha between 6 and 9am. It is one of the biggest breakfast shows in SA. Apart from the love of radio broadcasting, Buthelezi is also passionate about youth and rural development.

Last week, she led by example as she graduated with a postgraduate diploma in project management from Regent Business School. With the qualification, she wants to encourage youth from rural areas to defy the odds and dream big.

“It is my biggest dream to graduate in higher education. This qualification will inspire young people from my area and other rural areas. I’m doing this to fulfil a longtime wish that I had growing up but also to encourage them not to allow their background to determine their destiny. I come from a rural village and I’m where I am because of hard work and determination. I aim to show them it is possible.”

Buthelezi was inspired to further her studies after climbing Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania in 2019. She summited Africa’s highest mountain with the likes of advocate Thuli Madonsela and Metro FM DJ news reporter Pearl Shongwe.

She received a hero’s welcome from UkhoziFM listeners and her fans at King Shaka International Airport as she returned from East Africa.

Buthelezi climbed Kilimanjaro to raise awareness about female menstrual hygiene and the importance of dignity packs.

“After summiting Mount Kilimanjaro, which is not easy, I saw that everything is possible. I have realised that Africa has an extensive rural landscape and the people there have the same challenges [as my village]. With me studying I want to contribute in developing and changing the lives of people in rural areas.”

Buthelezi has already begun her mission with her foundation Thum’umlilo which was established in 2013. The organisation assists young people with skills development, bursaries and career guidance.

“I normally get inspiring people to come and motivate youth. I source resources like computers and books for them. I also try to get them bursaries from colleges. Those who are interested in sport I get influential people to come and watch them when playing.”

Her passion to work with people started at a young age, volunteering in different community organisations around her area. This led her to be chosen to be part of the Love Life programme visiting schools speaking about positive living.

“I used to volunteer in community organisations and I will offer to write them minutes and they appreciated that. Even community leaders started noticing the love I had for the community. From then, I joined Love Life. I enjoyed interacting with young people. For the work I did for Love Life they in turn took me to school to be trained in media studies and journalism.”

Buthelezi left Love Life and joined a group of young people who were establishing a community radio in Eshowe. Working for the station opened Buthelezi’s mind to bigger issues and exposed her to many skills. She was a radio presenter, marketing and advertising manager. Her afternoon drive show, which was very popular, saw her being headhunted by Ukhozi FM.

Buthelezi, who does not reveal her age, joined Ukhozi FM in 2005 doing an after-midnight show.

“I could not believe it when one day I got a call from the late Bhodloza Nzimande, the station manager at the time, asking me to participate in the upcoming auditions.”

From the graveyard shift, Buthelezi did the Saturday morning kiddies, then the midday show and afternoon drive show.

With Vuka Afrika Breakfast Show, her star is destined to grow brighter and, needless to say, keep the warm fires burning for the youth of Gingindlovu and surrounding rural areas.  


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