Saba wipes the floor

POPULAR Eastern Cape radio presenter Saba Mbixane believes his competitors will have to work five times harder to match his musical standards after he won the coveted Best Traditional Music DJ and the Best Traditional Music radio programme categories at the South African Traditional Music Achievements (Satma) Awards.

The Umhlobo Wenene DJ said the awards were proof that one could never "aleqe ukhozi ngenja" (use a dog to chase a hawk). He said it would take his competitors years to get to his level of expertise in the traditional music field.

The awards, held in East London on Saturday, were attended by hundreds of traditional music lovers, Xhosa King Mpendulo Sigcawu and politicians including Local Government MEC Mlibo Qoboshiyane, Social Development MEC Pemmy Majodina, premier Noxolo Kiviet and Eastern Cape Parks and Tourism Agency chairwoman Vuyo Zitumane. Mbixane, 53, said the only way his competitors would get anywhere in these categories was if they asked him to step aside.

"While I am still here, they do not have a chance. I mean for the radio programme I got more than 350000 votes to win while the second runner-up only had 61000. For best traditional DJ I received 479000 votes while the runner-up got 93000. There is a massive gap between me and my competitors."

Mbixane has been nominated seven times in the Satma's eight-year history and has won the Best Traditional DJ five times.

The Mount Frere-born presenter said it was his style, interaction with listeners and his vast music collection that ensured he was always steps ahead of the rest. His show started three years ago and has been nominated each year since.

"Some radio DJs do not understand that there are different genres within traditional music. So it is little things like that that made a difference.

"It is in the way you coordinate your show and the way you address people, from politicians to listeners, with the same importance."

Mbixane said the love of traditional music was not just about getting a paycheck at the end of the month. "While for other DJs it might be work, this is not a job for me. It's a lifestyle. I live it while they dabble in hip hop, kwaito and R&B. This is my entire focus."

The passionate Lavuth'ibhayi presenter said his competitors had a right to ask him to step aside for a couple of years so they could also get a chance.

"They can talk to the organisers and say 'it's too much' and I am willing to listen. Because otherwise, they do not stand a chance," he said yesterday.

He said the other radio stations who were up against him were also welcome to ask him how he kept doing it, year after year.

"Mabazosabela kum [let them come and ask for advice]. We can be honest and open with each other about what I am doing that they are not."

Mbixane, who has been presenting for 25 years, also won a car . "I spent the day driving around East London [yesterday] with my head out in the open in my new convertible, which the listeners got for me by voting. I'm loving it."