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5 minutes with Unathi Nkayi

Image: Themba Mbuyisa

Composer, performer and television producer Unathi Nkayi has been named the host of Kaya FM's newly revamped noon to 3pm slot from Mondays to Thursdays.

Set to go live on March 2, Nkayi's show will cover conversations attuned with the lives of Afropolitans, while continuing to bring listeners the unique music offering the station is known for. We caught up with her to chat about lifestyle, music, her new venture and more.

You have been off the airwaves for a while. Why are you going back now?

It’s the beginning of a new decade and Kaya FM wanted me to bring a new energy. It’s an honour to be given such a great challenge and I’m excited to be joining the team. 

What is it about Kaya FM that convinced you to return to radio? 

The station speaks to a global audience that is driven and is unapologetic about being Afropolitan. That is who I am. The station speaks about Johannesburg, the continent and diaspora with the same level of love and affection and that is what I want of all of us. Kaya FM is leading in the space of its digital footprint and now, with the launch of our app, we reach that global audience more easily. As a television producer, too, that excites me as we are in the thick of things in this fourth industrial revolution. I also get to work with a team that I admire on and off air, which is a privilege, to say the least. 

One of the focuses of your new show is travel and you have been around the world as an artist. What has travelling taught you?

Travelling has taught me that Africa is the most beautiful continent of them all. Our people are friendly, our music vibrant. Our skies are blue and our food very flavoursome. 

How has Unathi, the radio host, evolved over the years?

I don’t know. I’d have to ask our listeners to answer that one in a few months or so. 

What's the "something different" listeners can expect from your new show?

I guess that’s me. We are all made uniquely and I can only try to be the best version of myself that I can be, so that I can give my best. My energy and love for radio will guide me. 

What inspires you?

The fact that we’re living on borrowed time and I want to make the most of the time that I have. 


You have made your fitness journey public and inspired many people in the process. What are your top three health and fitness tips?

Firstly, you cannot out gym a bad diet, so eat clean as much as possible. Eating clean is eating food that comes from the earth, not processed food. Dairy products, wheat and sugar are things which one should try and cut out. Sugar is the most addictive, and carries the most aging properties, of all food groups. 

Secondly, when starting the journey take baby steps. Don’t push yourself too hard because you need to enjoy the journey - it has to become your lifestyle if you want lasting results. 

Lastly, water is life. Let it become your best friend.

As a single mother, what advice would you give a mom who is too hard on herself?

As a mother, period, I say trust yourself and let God take care of the rest. Often we doubt our natural instinct and yet it is that very intuition that guides us.


If you were to be a new addition to the crayon box, what colour would you be and why?

Yellow. I’m energetic and vibrant, just like the joyful yellow crayon. 

What would be a good theme song for your life?

I am a musician - that’s impossible to answer! Music is my life. 


My power comes from

Knowing that I am enough. 

The best thing about being a black woman is …

Simply that. 


My career highlight is …

I have had so many milestones across the disciplines that I work in. I have been blessed to have had many incredible blessings in my life.