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Ogogo are People Too

One of the many wonderful things about my work is how much I get to experience with different people.

There’s a lot that goes on behind the scenes, way before we go into studio to actually broadcast the show.

Besides the research aspect of the preparation, some segments and inserts are pre recorded or sourced, edited and prepared for the show. Some of the content requires that we actually have to go out to various places to capture the content and at times participate in whatever story we are covering on the show.

I came across an article on Mam’Myeni’s project on her son’s Facebook page and immediately thought that this was something that we needed to share with our listeners. (Click here to read the article)
We will be chatting to Mam’Cwengi Myeni on the show soon; about her story and about her project that encourages grannies to get active.

So in preparation for that we spent two hours with oGogo from KwaNyuswa chatting to them and participating in their activities.
These are oGogo that are part a project driven and supported by Hillcrest AIDS Centre Trust. The project coordinates Gogo support groups for these senior citizens to share their challenges, generate income through sewing and craft projects as well as keep themselves active by participating in team sporting activities.


One of the ladies reminded us of something so important; being 87 (yes there was an 87-year-old granny there and she plays soccer) doesn’t mean a Gogo should fade into nothingness or just be seen as the home caretaker or someone who looks after the grandchildren or great grandchildren.
It’s important to remember that rural grannies are also people with interests and hobbies. We need to treat them with respect and kindness but also uphold their humanity as well as their individuality.


Unfinished Story


My uncle uMalum’Thabani introduced me to Stimela music. He would bring out his Technics Hi-Fi and he and Malum’Musa would play chess or have lengthy facial shaving sessions from the ‘basin-on-a-chair’ outside, with Stimela playing in the background. Malum’Musa would be under the bonnet of his Ford XR3, sending me for spanners, with Stimela playing in the background.

Four years ago, someone who knew I love Stimela so much, took a pic with Oom Ray for me.

When I started working on Sithakela Isizwe in 2012 the second interview of that show, was with Oom’Ray – it wasn’t a work interview for me, it was my childhood. It was my memories with my uncles. It was my memories of KwaMadlala. I was shaking with excitement and sheer happiness.

At the end of May, he was set to perform in Durban and I was so disappointed that I couldn’t go to the performance because of a family commitment.

We interviewed Oom’Ray that week and I commented to the show producer that he wasn’t as bubbly as he usually is. Last week one of the producers told me that he was very ill but we had just just spoken to him.

The drums on the live version of Phinda Mzala. The memories of my uncle Thabani and I singing ‘sondela nganeno, come to me, zwakala…’ Malum’Thabani saying ‘uyabona Mshanam, iStimela, weeee, weeee, weeeee!’ One of my uncles singing along and looking at me saying ‘Awu shani shani kaMalume!’ as I joined in the singing / dancing to one of the steam tracks.

I never write about people passing. But Oom’Ray is my uncles, three men that I love and who taught me so much and who love me so much.

Oom’Ray is my memories of my rural roots KwaMadlala, of us blasting that music with no fear of neighbours complaining because the nearest neighbour was a kilometer away.

Oom’Ray is my memories of MaSangweni who would more often than not, be playing solitaire while his music played.

Oom’Ray interviews were interviews that were for me. Not the station, not the listeners but for me.

Music is magic. Music transports, music transcends, music births, music heals. Stimela’s music transported me, always and without fail to my childhood, to people who mean the galaxy to me.

Lala ngoxolo Oom’Ray. You gave me more than just music.

Stimela: Unfinished Story 

Sithakela Isizwe

Four times a week, I spend 3 hours behind the microphone and I interview 4 people per show (sometimes more). That’s 12 interviews per week, 48 interviews per month and 576 per year.

I wish I had a copy of every interview I’ve done, I really do. Every interview is a lesson and it’s also growth. I’m pretty sure that I don’t sound the same as I did when I started out in November 2004 and I’m quite sure that I don’t sound the same on Sithakela Isizwe as I did when we first started the show in April 2012.
But I do have some of the interviews. Take a listen.

Sithakela Isizwe noZakes Bantwini 
Here we experimented with something we had never done on the show previously; we hosted Zakes Bantwini with a live studio audience with a live performance to wrap up the show.

Sithakela Isizwe noDr Sandile Shabalala 
It’s part of my job to discuss somewhat sensitive topics. Dr Shabalala came through to spend time with us in studio, discussing men’s health.

Sithakela Isizwe: Ikhaya Lethu noRev Hawu Mbatha
One of the highlights of this year has been the opportunity to be in conversation with Reverend Hawu Mbatha on Ikhaya Lethu. The insights and the wisdom have given me many lessons and food for thought.
Being on this platform is an amazing experience. Every day, I have the opportunity to share people’s journeys with the Ukhozi FM audience and I get to learn something new (whilst having fun!) every day.

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