STORY: Sihle Mkhize
Ukhozi FM’s talent search programme is reaching its peak with potential future radio stars now hoping they get enough votes.
The winner of the contest gets a contract with the biggest radio station in Africa. It is named after veteran former presenter at the station, Winnie Mahlangu, is in full swing.
The search is in its second year and was launched as part of the station’s Women’s Month celebrations.
Mahlangu was the first black female broadcaster to be employed on a full-time basis by the SABC during the apartheid years back in 1962. She served the SABC for 30 years.
The first three potential presenters have been picked and the voting process is underway. Thursday afternoon is the final day for voting.
The overall recipient is announced after a four week run that involves voting by listeners, on-air experiential and virtual engagement with the station’s management.
Mpumelelo Mpofana (28) hails from the south coast of KwaZulu-Natal, in Mzimkhulu. She is confident that she has accumulated enough votes to write a new chapter of her life by becoming a presenter on Ukhozi FM.
When The Purpose contacted Mpumelelo, she was bit shocked and surprised. “It was always my wish to be a radio presenter,” she said after collecting herself.
“This has been so since I was a child. I am a naturally a smooth talker and not noisy when on air. People from my hood and the local municipality do support me,” Mpumelelo said.
She added that she threw caution to the wind and just entered the competition like many other women. “I submitted my demo. If I recall, I heard my name and voting number last Monday on air, and I knew I had made it.”
Last year Ukhozi FM received around 4 000 entries from aspirant broadcasters. The Purpose has learned that Mpumelelo hosts a show on Harry Gwala FM on Sundays between 10am and 2pm.
Second contestant is Bingelela Mpanza who told The Purpose that the crown belongs to the north coast of KZN, in kwaNongoma to be exact, where she was born and bred.
“I see myself as the winner. Initially, I am a singer but presenting is my first love. Even my sisters can tell you that. I love radio because it connects me with the audience.
“Sometimes you get healed because of the topics you share with the listeners. But most importantly, is to being a message conveyer,” Bingelela said with confidence.
Mpanza is also a musician, in 2015 she released an African Jazz album. Ndoni Radebe from Newcastle is not new to the airwaves as she has been in the game for quite some time now.
“He is Jehovah who doesn’t fall asleep. He opens closed doors. If He has done it before what can stop Him from doing it again. He can cast a path even in the bush and in darkness,” read Ndoni’s Facebook post.
Zama Mseleku was the overall winner last year. This competition also grants a golden opportunity to the young women to being mentored and coached by the station’s seniors.