Masechaba Ndlovu is in a celebratory mood. I spot her at the end of a red carpet, talking to her friends. As I walk over, I see her drop down low in a move that’s part vosho and part what a beautiful figure-hugging dress will allow.
She throws her head back and laughs with her friends.
It almost feels rude to interrupt such a joyous moment. But I have to ask: how does it feel to win at the annual Liberty Radio Awards. Ndlovu, together with her co-host, Mo Flava, were awarded the Best Afternoon Drive Show (commercial) gong.
Their show, The Drive, is on Metro FM from 3pm to 6pm every weekday.
“Oh god, you’re going to make me cry,” Ndlovu starts. “This was also Mo Flava’s first nomination in his 12-year radio career and it was also his first win. I was crying for all of us. I think I was carrying his tears, I was carrying my tears. And him particularly because it’s not that he’s never won or been nominated because he was not good enough. It was simply because he worked in institutions that suppressed his talent and did not even register him to be nominated in the first place.”
“I come from a past where I understand oppression and I am actually a television personality before I am a radio personality - I’ve never won a single television award,” Ndlovu continues. “This is my second radio award. And so, when I say I cry for everyone, that’s why it’s such an emotional evening.”
Listeners have literally heard Ndlovu grow since she became a permanent addition to The Drive. There have been days when she was honest on air about being intimidated by the desk. “That’s a big deal,” she smiles. “Now I’ll go toe-to-toe with Mo Flava when it comes to running the desk. To the point where, if you’re listening, you can’t tell whether it’s me or him running the desk.”
Ndlovu has made waves as a TV presenter on shows like One Day Leader, Eksê: Let’s Talk and The Big Debate. But does radio officially feel like home to her now? “Not only is it home, but I’m also breaking the barriers for women in the game,” she says.
“I didn’t realise commercial radio was so patriarchal. I’ve always been the king of my space. Commercial radio in general is not a conducive environment for women to thrive. I had to create that space for myself.”
Another barrier-breaker at this year’s awards was Hot 91.1 - which is a community station that scooped awards in eight categories. They also took home the Station of the Year (community) award. PUK FM took home the campus Station of the Year award while Algoa FM was the Station of the Year on the commercial side.
Through a press release, the chief executive of the Liberty Radio Awards, Lance Rothschild, said: “Competition in each category was extremely fierce this year. It is really great to see the ongoing commitment to entertaining and informing listeners from radio professionals. I believe that this will go a long way to ensuring the future of radio as the primary media of choice in an increasingly competitive marketplace.”
Visit libertyradioawards.co.za to see a full list of the winners.