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People’s poet Mzwakhe Mbuli at war with SABC

Poet, Mzwakhe Mbuli, says he latest album continues to suffer from a lack of radio airplay. Picture: Dumisani Sibeko

Poet, Mzwakhe Mbuli, says he latest album continues to suffer from a lack of radio airplay. Picture: Dumisani Sibeko

Published Apr 24, 2023


Johannesburg - Award-winning poet and activist Mzwakhe Mbuli has vowed to continue boycotting the SABC after years of lack of airplay on some of the radio stations at the public broadcaster.

Mbuli, spoke to The Star after reports that he was not feeling well. He said his album, Vuka Darkie, launched at the SABC in September 2022, continued to suffer from a lack of radio airplay, especially on stations such as Metro FM and Ukhozi FM.

Mbuli said his album, which speaks directly to socio-political issues such as GBV and human rights, will continue to receive the same treatment and blackout as his music released during the apartheid era, which was banned due to its political stance.

Last week, Mbuli refused an interview with Ukhozi FM, saying he would not take part in any interviews until his music was play listed.

“I find it strange that the SABC is now concerned about my health but does not play my Vuka Darkie album. The SABC calls itself a public broadcaster that deals with current affairs but fails to play my music which tackles socio-political issues and current affairs. They are depriving South Africans of my music” he said.

Mbuli said he was not the only local artist who suffered from a lack of airplay across SABC radio stations.

“Since the dawn of democracy, SABC boards have been toothless and unsupportive of the plight of the country’s arts practitioners. Ironically, Vuka Darkie was launched at SABC studios in Auckland Park.

“Samro - South African Music Rights Organisation - records our evidence. Therefore we have decided not to accept SABC interviews. We receive endless requests from SABC current affairs, especially on topical issues that are arts and culture related, including requests for comments on the passing away of artists.

“Lest we forget that under apartheid SA, the SABC banned Mzwakhe Mbuli's music. The SABC will pump the People’s Poet music when he is pronounced dead. Mzwakhe Mbuli will prevail, despite the SABC vendetta,” he said.

However, SABC acting group executive Mmomi Seapolelo denied, in a statement, having blacked out Mbuli’s music.

“The SABC can confirm that Mr Mbuli was contacted for an interview. However, he declined, and he was at liberty to do so,” she said.

The Star