At home with Putco Mafani

Ra­dio DJ Putco Mafani and his wife, Bongiwe, talk to us about their mar­riage, faith and his wild past

DRUM - - Contents - BY SIYABONGA KAMNQA PIC­TURES: LUBA LESOLLE [email protected] Twit­ter: @kam­n­qasiyabong­a

WE’RE sched­uled to meet up with the vet­eran ra­dio DJ at the Umhlobo Wenene FM stu­dios in the Par­son’s Hill sub­urb of Port El­iz­a­beth.

But our nerves are on edge. Due to the na­ture of their jobs, we know ra­dio pre­sen­ters are punc­tual and ex­pect oth­ers to be too, but an over­turned truck on one of the Friendly City’s highways is caus­ing hec­tic traf­fic and de­lay­ing us.

But a few mo­ments later, as we make our way into the stu­dios, the for­ever-jovial Putco Mafani is as cool as a cu­cum­ber as he warmly wel­comes us and shows us around the state-of-the-art stu­dios.

Just like on his show, Break­fast Eyond­layo Ekuseni (BEE), Putco is full of hu­mour in real life and has ev­ery­one in stitches dur­ing our pho­to­shoot.

BEAU­TI­FUL BONGIWE Af­ter the shoot we fol­low Putco in his grey Mercedes-Benz to his house, just a stone’s throw away. Wel­com­ing us into their beau­ti­ful home is his gor­geous wife, Bongiwe Lu­mi­nathi Mafani, who is wear­ing an apron that reads “uBongi kaPutco (Putco’s Bongi)”.

“Meet my beau­ti­ful wife who is my pil­lar of strength in ev­ery­thing I do,” Putco says proudly. “They say be­hind ev­ery suc­cess­ful man is a woman and Bongi is a true ex­am­ple of that.”

The lov­ing cou­ple then head off to put on their out­fits for the pho­to­shoot, while we marvel at the beau­ti­ful photos of them in the liv­ing room. There are por­traits of them on their wed­ding day and from the days when Putco was the public re­la­tions of­fi­cer of Kaizer Chiefs.

Also tak­ing pride of place in their liv­ing room are the many awards that the mul­ti­tal­ented ra­dio per­son­al­ity has re­ceived over the years – for his PR work and ra­dio ca­reer.

The cou­ple emerge from chang­ing out­fits and it’s time for lights and ac­tion, and from the first click of the cam­era the chem­istry be­tween them is un­de­ni­able. They look lov­ingly into each other’s eyes and whis­per sweet noth­ings to make our pho­tog­ra­pher’s job an easy one.

Watch­ing them, one can’t help but feel how lucky they are at a time when mar­riages of­ten crum­ble no sooner than the cou­ples have said “I do”.

WORTH THE FIGHT But both Putco and Bongi ad­mit that it hasn’t been a walk in the park. They’ve had their fair share of chal­lenges along the way.

“I will be hon­est with you, if it wasn’t for prayer and God’s mercy we would have di­vorced a long time ago,” says Putco.

“But from the be­gin­ning of our mar­riage we de­cided to put prayer first and I guess that’s what’s kept our mar­riage rock solid.”

His words are echoed by Bongi. “God is the one who brought us to­gether and in ev­ery de­ci­sion we make we al­ways put Him first. We al­ways seek an­swers from Him in ev­ery as­pect of our lives. I feel hon­oured to have a hus­band who is God-fear­ing and who be­lieves in the power of prayer.”

WILD DAYS ARE OVER There was a time when Putco was known to have a “rov­ing eye” and nu­mer­ous sto­ries linked him to a num­ber of ladies. And, he’s not shy to ad­mit that he used to be “wild”.

“Yes, there was a time in my life when I used to party a lot and I would go to clubs and come home at un­godly hours,” he says. “But it’s thanks to Bongi that those days are gone. I pre­fer to do ev­ery­thing with her now. I do the show in the morn­ing and af­ter­wards we have break­fast to­gether – ei­ther at home or at a res­tau­rant.”

Bongi says she ap­pre­ci­ates the fact that Putco was hon­est with her about ev­ery­thing when they first met.

“He was hon­est with me about ev­ery­thing from the word go,” she says. “I guess that made it eas­ier for me to ig­nore all the bad stuff that is writ­ten or said about him re­gard­ing his past. I know the man that

I mar­ried and I trust him com­pletely. He is a changed man.”

The cou­ple wake up at 5 am ev­ery day and pray sep­a­rately in “dif­fer­ent corners” of their home. “Af­ter­wards we pray to­gether and this is how we start our day ev­ery sin­gle day,” Bongi says.


Mar­ried eight years ago, the cou­ple have been blessed with two chil­dren, Imbo Ya­maTshawe ( 8) and Luse­n­athi ( 6). But Putco has eight other chil­dren from pre­vi­ous re­la­tion­ships.

“When Bongi came on board the ‘Putco Bus’ there were eight mem­bers al­ready and we added two in Imbo and Luse­n­athi,” Putco says. “So in to­tal I have 10 chil­dren. But this it for us. We are not plan­ning to have any more chil­dren.”

Be­sides their hec­tic sched­ule run­ning their com­pany Putco Mafani Con­sult­ing – where Bongi is the man­ager – the cou­ple are very ac­tive in church ac­tiv­i­ties. Both are mem­bers of the Sev­enth-day Ad­ven­tist Church in Kwamagx­aki town­ship in PE. Bongi serves as leader of the Ad­ven­tist Women’s Min­istries, while Putco preaches and serves as a choir master.

To celebrate their eighth wed­ding an­niver­sary, they’ll be jet­ting off to Sun City to re­flect on their years to­gether and raise a toast to all the good times they’ve shared.

“I feel blessed to have this woman by my side. I will love her un­til the day I die,” Putco says as he plants a kiss on Bongi.

I feel blessed to have this woman by my side

MAIN PIC­TURE: Umhlobo Wenene FM pre­sen­ter Putco Mafani and his wife, Bongiwe Lu­mi­nathi Mafani, in their beau­ti­ful PE home. ABOVE: The cou­ple have been hap­pily mar­ried for eight years. RIGHT: Putco and Bongi with his son, Buhle, cook­ing up a storm.

FROM FAR LEFT to LEFT: With his Hall of Fame Award from the MTN Ra­dio Awards; Bongi with a cus­tomised apron; the cou­ple still en­joy teas­ing each other.

ABOVE: Pic­tures of Putco mix­ing with the Who’s Who of SA adorn the liv­ing room. BE­LOW: Putco fools around in the stu­dio.

TOP: The glam­orous cou­ple at the DRUM pho­to­shoot. TOP: A potjie pot dou­bles as a fire­place in the Mafani house­hold.

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