Radio spat over Ndebele ‘foreigners’
Two Mpumalanga musicians have accused a Metro FM music compiler of calling them “foreigners” and telling them that the station will not play their music because of that.
Ndebele Movement, a band consisting of Chiloane Shagashe (28) and Mandla Masango (26), of Verena, accuse Nathi Nthangeni of telling them: “You guys are foreigners. Your music is foreign and we have never play-listed music with Ndebele content on Metro FM.”
Nthangeni allegedly made the comment in the reception area of the SABC’s Radio Park building a year ago. The band has been embroiled in an ongoing wrangle with the station. Mediation efforts broke down last month, following unsuccessful meetings with Metro FM bosses.
However, SABC spokesperson Kaizer Kganyago rejected the duo’s allegations as “tribalistic and ridiculous”.
He said they had been harassing Metro FM management to play their music, which did not fit the station’s criteria.
Masango said Nthangeni’s alleged comments left them feeling offended, humiliated and discriminated against. “Our dignity and pride were injured in a matter of seconds,” he said. Nthangeni is one of 13 music compilers disciplined after being implicated in a forensic report on payola – paying compilers or deejays to play certain music – commissioned by the SABC’s former chief operating officer Hlaudi Motsoeneng. None of the compilers was dismissed, but they were given final written warnings.
Shagashe and Masango sent two of their tracks to Metro FM for play-listing and asked for a meeting with Nthangeni when they received no airtime. “We got the shock of our lives when he told us we were foreigners and our music content did not fit on Metro FM. He requested that we send another song, which we did immediately. After following up, they failed to provide feedback,” Shagashe claimed.
Ndebele Movement’s music has been played on iKwekwezi FM, Motsweding FM and a number of community radio stations.
The two said they spent 10 months asking why their music was rejected, as well as for an apology for Nthangeni’s alleged comments. Kganyago says they could provide no proof. “They are lying. We did not reject their music because they are Ndebele. We do not care. Music is judged by quality as well as the criteria our radio stations have,” he said. The station wrote to the two numerous times and had no plans to meet them again.
“They mustn’t think taking us to the papers will change the criteria. They need to understand that in life, things are either accepted or rejected.”
HUMILIATED Chiloane Shagashe and Mandla Masango