Lunga is living the dream
HE’S made a name for himself on the Cape Town radio scene. Now Heart FM DJ Lunga Singama, 33, can add having the biggest audience in the station’s weekend line-up to his accolades.
Singama hosts the Friday night party slot between 10pm and 1am and he’s back behind the mic on Saturdays from 2-6pm.
But it’s his Sunday lunch time show that has gained him popularity among his growing fan base, as well as his bosses.
Singama’s My Cape Town slot, which airs for an hour from 12pm, is already proving quite the hit according to listenership numbers. Official figures show 326 000 people tune in to the segment on a weekly basis.
“The #MyCapeTown space at 12 is my favourite because it allows us to tell the stories of Capetonians through their favourite music. #MyCapeTown has become a space where everyone who has a great inspiring story, stops by to tell that story,” a proud Singama said.
The slot has featured some big names in recent times.
Belinda Davids, who is stealing the hearts of Capetonians with her Whitney Houston Show at the Artscape theatre, has had her turn in the My Cape Town segment, as have popular personalities like Marc Lottering, Vicky Sampson, Allister Izobel, Chad Saaiman, Sammy Webber and Kagiso Maboe.
For Singama, being on the airwaves is the culmination of a teenage dream. In 1999, he left his home in the Eastern Cape town of Tsolo and moved to Cape Town in pursuit of a radio career. He then completed an honours degree in English literature and linguistics at the University of the Western Cape (UWC), before landing his first radio gig in 2008 at Fine Music Radio.
“The Cape Town radio landscape was very exciting for me, from Good Hope FM, Bush Radio, KFM to the then-P4. I tried numerous times while at varsity to get into all the commercial stations but was consistently rejected because I wasn’t ready for the big league. My luck changed when I met Suga and Bongani Njoli at Good Hope FM, who both advised me to try my luck at community station level to hone my craft. And that’s how I ended up at Fine Music Radio.
“I used to take the last train from Bellville to Cape Town on Friday so that I could be able to do my show 2-4am on a Saturday morning. Then after my show was done I would go back to the train station and hang out with the security staff until the first train back to Varsity. Tough, but a very character building time.”
Fast forward to nine years later and Singama has fulfilled his life’s dream. He is the assistant music compiler at Heart FM and has had a big hand in the station’s success by way of his music selection. Heart FM is the biggest radio station in Cape Town, followed by KFM.
He’s especially proud of his Sunday radio show.
“It is what a quintessential Sunday morning is about. While moms are cooking Sunday lunch and dads are heating up the braai, I play the perfect soundtrack for a Cape Town Sunday. The show is based on Cape Town nostalgia, from the music of ‘60s, ‘70s, ‘80s and ‘90s, all the evergreen classics that Cape Town loves.”
Singama puts the success of his show down to preparation. “It’s key for a radio show. First I have to know all the songs I’m playing on the show that day inside out. I prepare little anecdotes on artists, etc. Then I do research on my guest for that day, find out every possible thing about them. My interview style is very conversational, so it’s very important to prepare, so that the good stuff can happen during the interview.”
When he’s not ruling the airwaves, Singama enjoys travelling, is a big basketball fan and has a weakness for sports shoes. “I’m very much into sneakers. I’ve spent so much money on collecting sneakers. There’s nothing better than that fresh new kicks smell, just glorious.”
He also possesses a deep love for his adopted city.
“The people of this place are winners, there are so many rich stories from Gugs to Heideveld all the way down to Muizenberg. And I love telling these stories on the radio.”
Heart FM radio presenter Lunga Singama in studio.