The news reported by the local newspaper “The Sekgosese Insider” dated March 19th -02 April 2019 about the termination of Mkwazeni’s contract came as a surprise to the former Station Manager of Sekgosese FM, Mr Joel Rabaloi.
Thobela FM tauted Mkwazeni whilest he was the presenter for “Mmino Wa Africa” at the local radio station. The then Programs Manager of Thobela FM, Mr Ronnie Makgothokgo, approached me to inform me about the station’s interest to the three (3) presenters from my station, Rabaloi said. I conceded to the plan as our roles as community radio stations is to develop and hone the skills of presenters that they can make it big in the industry.
Mkwazeni’s departure from the SABC’s Thobela FM is a total blow to both the listeners and the communities of Ga-Raphahlelo, Ga-Phooko and the entire Balobedu people whom he represented in the radio station. He represented the undermined and/or the marginalized groups who listen to Thobela FM but their language is second class as it is not the one targeted by Thobela FM.
His departure from Thobela FM has frustrated many of his listeners who vowed to follow him wherever he goes. “I am still surprised and shocked at the same time, but it is up to you the listeners and God to judge because I am still willing to serve with pride, but this is far beyond my control”, read Koko Mkwazeni’s facebook satatement.
Sekgosese Insider have recently reported the following about the listeners: Paulina Manganyi called in during the show and said, “I am crying. I am going with you wherever you go”. Another listener, Listerine Motlousi was heard live on-air crying because Koko Mkwazeni was partying ways with Thobela FM.
The campaign to bring back the presenter #BringBackKokoMkwazeni” with listeners commenting on Thobela FM page has gained momentum. Meanwhile the broadcaster (Thobela FM) is on the verge of making drastic changes that will enable the radio to deliver its content, music and the type of personalities that match with the station’s identity and its strategy.
According to the changes made, Koko Mkwazeni will be replaced by Max Mojapelo who is a legendary presenter and is known in the industry. Mojapelo is said to have also published his book titled,”Never Say Never”, and the book was launched on the 16th September 2016.
SABC’s Thobela FM maintains that they are interested in developing local talent as per their mandate. It is ironic that they are removing someone from the marginalized groups whom they are supposed to develop. It remains to be seen whether the campaign to bring back Mkwazeni will sway the broadcaster into changing their decision about terminating Mkwazeni’s contract. As for the outsted presenter, Mkwazeni, he is now faced with the decision to either looking somewhere else for the presenting job or decides to hang the mike(microphone).