No joke – Mafani inducted into SA radio hall of fame

WHEN Umhlobo Wenene FM radio presenter Putco Mafani heard he would be inducted into the MTN Radio Hall of Fame, the veteran DJ thought it was a big joke.

“It did not sound real. It only sank in when my name was called on Saturday. What I can say is that it is a very humbling experience,” he said.

The awards ceremony was held at the Sandton Convention Centre.

And after 16 years in the industry, Mafani, 49, will be a hall of famer.

“Today my name is on the same list as radio legends like Alex Jay [Highveld Stereo], Given Ntlebi [retired Radio Xhosa and Umhlobo Wenene presenter] and Peter Bacela [radio commentator and former Umhlobo Wenene sports anchor].”

Mafani has worked at a number of radio stations.

He started with Radio Ciskei, then went to Radio Xhosa, Channel Africa and Kaya FM.

In 2010 he was approached by then station manager Nada Wotshela to present Umhlobo Wenene’s breakfast show.

“I am glad [to be] living my dream because I have always wanted to be in radio.”

When he was growing up, he said, he used to listen to all the well-spoken radio personalities.

“I was 10 in 1974 when we [went] on tour with my school. We [visited] Radio Xhosa in King William’s Town. I had the privilege of seeing Ntlebi recording his Sunday slot. I watched this man in the studio and I was blown away by his voice and gestures.”

Nowadays, Mafani said, people did not last on radio because they could not think fast.

“To be a good radio presenter one has to always be tuned into your senses. You have to be creative, innovative and respectful of listeners,” he said.

Mafani said he met his dream team when he joined Umhlobo Wenene FM’s breakfast show.

The show also has Pastor Phiwe Nozewu, Mluleki “Coach” Ntsabo and Mafa Bavuma on air.

Umhlobo Wenene took four more awards for Best PBS Drama Award, Best PBS Breakfast presenter, Best PBS Break Show and PBS Station of the year.

Umhlobo Wenene FM station manager Phumzile Mnci said: “It means a lot to us as it is a recognition of good work.” – Yoliswa Sobuwa


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