MaBlerh. Picture: Katlego Mokubyane
MaBlerh. Picture: Katlego Mokubyane

MaBlerh chats about new & improved 'Trending SA'

By Kedibone Modise Time of article published Feb 23, 2021

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Witty, kind and smart is how MaBlerh, born Mthokozisi Cele, describes himself after we exchange pleasantries.

The “Emperor Of uMlazi”, as he is popularly known, is the only remaining member of SABC3’s talk show “Trending SA”.

His former co-hosts, Elma Smit and Refiloe Mpakanyane, left the show recently.

“Trending SA” is back for the sixth season with MaBlerh and three new faces: Metro FM presenters Moeti “Mo Flava” Tsiki, Luthando “Lootlove” Shosha and social media sensation and performer Lesego Tlhabi.

The 30 -minute show sees the foursome tackling daily trending topics, discussing burning issues ranging from gender-based violence to femicide, politics and sports, as well as interviews with local and international stars.

“I made a connection with my former co-hosts,” MaBlerh says. “I do miss them, however I’m also excited to still be afforded the opportunity to carry on working on this incredible platform with new people.

“It makes it easier that Mo Flava, Loot and Lesego are no strangers to the show. It’s gonna be a fun ride.

“Lucky for me, I know Loot from years back. I got to work with Mo Flava when he stood in for Elma in the previous season.

“They aren't strangers and so we gel effortlessly. Lesego is one of those people that you meet for a day and feel like you’ve always known them. It’s fun on set.”

’Trending SA’ presenters LootLove, Mo Flava, Lesego Tlhabi and MaBlerh with Dr Nokukhanya Khanyile, in a recent episode. Picture: Supplied

Tlhabi, Tsiki and Shosha will alternate as co-hosts of the daily show with MaBlerh.

The multi-talented star says one needs to be social-media-savvy in order to excel in a live trendy magazine show like “Trending SA”.

“You need to be on the pulse of the going-ons of social media, current affairs and pop culture. You need to be funny, sensitive, spicy and crazy all in one. We need to engage and be familiar with the content before our content producers tell us what is in the script.”

The uMlazi born personality wears many hats, including being a musician and radio personality, but he insists being a presenter on a talk show has always a dream of his.

“I’ve always seen myself interviewing people on a big stage. One of my gifts is talking to people. I relate with people of all ages so a talk show was definitely on the cards.”

Quizzed on how this presenting gig is different from anything he’s done previously, MaBlerh quipped: “It is live television. A beast that only a few people get to tame. No do-overs.

“It’s happening now with people talking in your ear while you have to deliver for the viewers at home, engage with content and a guest effortlessly. It’s a lot.”

MaBlerh. Picture: Katlego Mokubyane

Being a voice of the millennials, MaBlerh is drawing in younger viewers to the show, which is what the channel needs in order to remain relevant and take on competitors.

While “Trending SA” is mainly about the social media shenanigans and hot topics of the day, it also gives the hosts an opportunity to educate people on social media.

“My trick is to always talk to people and not at them.

“People relate to you when you talk to them.

“You have a better chance of someone listening to you and engaging with you.

“I love the fact I get to be the voice for other people who share my views on a national platform.

“I get to share my opinion on matters. This is a dream for an opinionated person.”

The star shared some of the challenges he has encountered on the show.

“Sometimes it’s a slow day and there’s not much to talk about in terms of trends. Luckily we have magicians for a content team – those guys are amazing.

“Also, we have to navigate the space of being socially conscious. Some matters need to be handled properly without being tone-deaf.”

Commenting on what has been the most difficult interview, he says: “We had to interview a victim of GBV who was burned with acid by her partner.

“I remember feeling hot throughout that interview. I had to keep my composure because I was so upset.

“The issue of GBV in this country really makes me angry and I feel powerless."

MaBlerh. Picture: Katlego Mokubyane

He added that if there’s one thing he would like the viewers to take away from the show, it’s the importance of kindness.

“Always choose kindness. In every topic we cover, at the end of the day, no matter how spicy we are, we always choose kindness over everything.”

MaBlerh’s introduction to the entertainment industry began as a blogger for the now defunct “Just Curious”.

He then managed TV personalities, including Minnie Dlamini-Jones.

In 2012 he joined the Ukhozi FM’s “Afternoon Drive Show (Woza Nabangani Bakho)” as an entertainment news correspondent, running a segment titled “Your Right To Respond”, where he interviewed celebrities on Mondays about what was written about them in the Sunday tabloids.

The same year, he released a hit single, “Umbuzo”, in collaboration with Nutty Nys.

In 2017 he joined the AfroSoul trio, The Nameless Band, and later that year they released their debut album.

In 2019, he co-founded www.theothority.com, South Africa’s first music charts website.

Trending SA” airs daily on SABC 3 at 6pm

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