Veteran sports broadcaster Robert Marawa has confirmed to Independent Media that he will be returning to radio “very soon”. But he is being tight-lipped about where he is headed.
“What is next is radio,” is all he would say on the matter. “There will be a microphone that will be on. And we will do radio all over again”.
Marawa’s shock exit from Metro FM, where he hosted the popular [email protected] programme, has been highly publicised.
The drama began early last month when Marawa’s producer, Beverly Maphangwa, was suspended by the SABC for playing an audio clip from their competitor, SuperSport.
Marawa labelled it “unfair” and decided to “take a stand”. He took himself off air, saying he wouldn’t return until Maphangwa’s ban was lifted.
The SABC eventually terminated Marawa’s contract. “The main charge was that I withdrew my services. I was supposed to come to work and I didn’t,” he says.
“But then obviously the counter-charge is that I notified them (SABC management) that I am not coming to work. But then they were quick to justice because they had to move on with their concocted plan (to get rid of me).”
Maphangwa’s suspension has since been set aside, reportedly without a disciplinary hearing taking place. She is back in her job.
Marawa told Independent Media: “I was forced into a situation that never made sense. Where people trumped up charges against the producer (Maphangwa), I took a decision, I took a stand.
“The fact that after they terminated my contract, the producer went back to her job where she currently still is, shows you that it was never about her, but about me.
"And I am more than willing to take the fall for cowards who parade themselves as managers or bosses.”
The Durban-born presenter had been hosting the slot from Metro FM’s Auckland Park studios for more than a decade. It had grown from a 30-minute show to 60, and eventually an hour-and-a-half.
While the SABC is working to find a replacement, the Metro FM website still proudly displays Marawa’s smiling face in its on-air line-up section, promoting his sports show at 6pm.
But Marawa is already working on his next project. “Radio was never part of my plan, but when radio came around, it literally became a bug.
"So I am always excited when there’s radio involved. People are keen to listen to quality, authentic radio where there’s credibility. And they know my work through the years. And I really don't try and be popular. I stick the basics of broadcasting.”
With football leagues around the world on their season break, Marawa is also enjoying some time off from his SuperSport television presenting duties.
But he has still been working his way through a packed events schedule.
“Just this week it was the PSL awards on Monday, which finished on Tuesday. I went home, packed for PE, woke up two hours later, did the varsity football launch at the University of Johannesburg. After that went to the airport, flew down to PE, did a book launch, came back to Joburg and then it was a series of meetings.”
Marawa admits he is excited about the future. “People know the analogy around a shut door and an open door and a revolving door. Whichever door you want, there is always activity behind a door, whether you shut it or you open it. So that’s what I’ve been busy doing.
“So whenever I try and get involved in something, I like to try and make sure it is the best offering I am working on bringing forward a quality product.”
Marawa, who has commentated on hundreds of football matches, says he is a big Liverpool fan.
But here’s something you might find difficult to believe - he doesn’t support any of the local soccer teams. Instead, that honour rests with a team in Swaziland called 11 Men In Flight.
“Really exciting team. I’ll support them until they stop taking flight,” he laughs.