At home with Putco Mafani
Radio DJ Putco Mafani and his wife, Bongiwe, talk to us about their marriage, faith and his wild past
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.
A BIG FAMILY
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.