Ngwako Malakalaka

Producer and presenter, Jozi Maboneng Radio

Ngwako Malakalaka began with Trans Africa Radio in 2007, and was part of the team that pioneered online radio in South Africa when Rhythm 100 Radio started. He has produced content for other radio stations, was a panellist at the Johannesburg Social Media Week 2014, mentors up and coming presenters and invented the Pop Up Radio concept for his current station, Jozi Maboneng Radio. Pop Up Radio has allowed the team to take radio shows to various venues and not keep things in studio — like an outside broadcast, but with selected shows coming from various places.

On top of this impressive list of qualities Malakalaka has a vibrant personality and most definitely a voice for radio.

“Radio is my life and I love the energy and the humanness,” says Malakalaka. “I was always fascinated with radio, wondering how the voices got inside. Back in the day there was not a lot of TV and contact with the outside world was through radio, and as I grew up I realised that this is what I wanted to do — touch lives, inform and educate.”

Malakalaka has a long list of people who have inspired him over the years and one of these is Bob Mabena, a man he describes as a positive influence and role model.

“He used to live in the same block as my aunt and one day I walked up to him and told him what I wanted to do,” says Malakalaka. “He said to me that it was a great idea and that when I had made it [in the radio industry], I must call him and let him know. Another DJ who inspired me is Fresh — he is someone who embodies a presenter as he doesn’t just DJ, he creates a show.”

A third inspiration was Brenda Sisane, a mentor whose style of presentation and type of content really inform his work. Malakalaka plans to grow more into the radio space, making connections with key players, mentoring and getting to know his peers. He believes it is important that everyone works together in radio, getting along and sharing the craft.

“Learning is so important to me, and my radio plans include my goal to shift to a more commercial base,” he concludes. “I am a jazz blogger too and I cover all the exciting names on the South African jazz scene. I want to give these amazingly talented people a voice and make a contribution, and to promote jazz music to my peers. It is viewed as a genre for old people and I feel it is time for jazz to take back its crown.”

He recently tackled cancer and won; Malakalaka’s is an inspiring story, and he is a light in the South African radio industry. — Tamsin Oxford




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