Man Oh Man – Macfar­lane Moleli

We were first in­tro­duced to Macfar­lane Moleli, or rather his voice, as a news­reader on YFM back in 2006. He tells us about his high school­hop­ping, kick-start­ing his broad­cast ca­reer at Ra­dio Is­lam and why mov­ing to Carte Blanche has been a re­mark­able exp


What peo­ple think is my ra­dio voice ac­tu­ally isn’t. I have a news voice, not a ra­dio voice. Those who know me well enough will tell you that this is how I speak. I was very for­tu­nate in that both my par­ents were teach­ers so I al­ready knew how to speak English when I started school. I was also an avid reader — I went through the African Writ­ers Se­ries and the Reader’s Di­gest en­cy­clopae­dia by Stan­dard 5 (Grade 7). I grew up in the Vaal. But, be­ing a prod­uct of board­ing schools, I con­sider my­self a son of the soil. I went to Sancta Maria in Van­der­bi­jl­park, St. Martin’s in Jo­han­nes­burg, St. An­drew’s in the Free State, Michael­house in KwaZulu-Na­tal, and Potchef­stroom Boys in North West. I’ve done my fair share of trav­el­ling [chuck­les].

My big mouth landed me in news broad­cast­ing. When I con­verted to Is­lam in 2002, I went to live with my aunt in Le­na­sia. I’d spend the bulk of my time re­search­ing and ac­quaint­ing my­self with the re­li­gion. A lot of the stuff I was read­ing was way dif­fer­ent to the con­tent be­ing broad­cast on Ra­dio Is­lam, so my cousin and I vis­ited the ra­dio sta­tion to voice our com­plaints to the sta­tion man­ager. He asked if I thought I could do a bet­ter job, and I said, ‘Yes!’ And just like that, I got my own ra­dio show called Out Of Africa. At Thabo Mbeki’s first in­au­gu­ra­tion, I was re­port­ing from the Union Build­ings in Pre­to­ria when Khanyi Magubane, YFM’s then desk edi­tor, heard me and said they’d never had a male news reader. She in­vited me for an in­ter­view and that’s when I went in for the big time!

Life af­ter YFM was in­cred­i­ble. Straight af­ter that, I was given an op­por­tu­nity at SABC Africa be­cause Peter Ndoro had just left, and they were look­ing for a male pre­sen­ter to work with De­siree Chauke. I did it for two and half years. While I was there, I also read the prime time news on SABC3, and did SABC Ra­dio Africa. I then got poached by then edi­tor-in-chief Deb­ora Patta for eNCA for their first 24-hour news chan­nel. It was all daunt­ing for me at the time, but on-the-job ex­pe­ri­ence has been my best teacher. I’ve been do­ing this for 14 years now.

My chil­dren are my rea­son for liv­ing. I’m a fa­ther to three boys and four girls. Mov­ing to Carte Blanche was prob­a­bly one of the most amaz­ing things to ever hap­pen to me. It’s al­most like a cul­mi­na­tion of ev­ery­thing I’ve ever done work-wise and a recog­ni­tion of sorts — es­pe­cially con­sid­er­ing that I’ve al­ways flown by the skin of my teeth. Carte Blanche has been on air for 30 years, and there’s a lot of re­spect and re­spon­si­bil­ity that comes with be­ing on a show of its cal­i­bre. I’d like to use my time on the show to im­pact peo­ple’s lives.

I’m a big be­liever in things hap­pen­ing ex­actly when they’re sup­posed to. For in­stance, when I re­tire, I’d like to be­come a break­fast show DJ and would love to host my own talk show. I refuse to force mat­ters though — I much pre­fer to wait for the right time.

I con­verted to Is­lam be­cause it was the only re­li­gion that made sense to me. Firstly, it made me feel like I was hu­man again. Sec­ondly, it made me un­der­stand who God is. God is not some­thing you do, only, on a Sun­day. Is­lam is a way of life — it’s some­thing you do ev­ery sin­gle day.

If I wasn’t in jour­nal­ism I’d most prob­a­bly be a lawyer. My mom used to say that I have an­swers for ev­ery­thing [chuck­les]. I’ve also al­ways be­lieved in jus­tice and fair­ness. The rea­son I school-hopped so much was be­cause as one of the few black learn­ers at the Model C and pri­vate schools I at­tended, I dealt with a lot of dis­crim­i­na­tion. I used to fight with my white school­mates, and would back­chat at teach­ers. At the time, it was un­heard of for a black learner to stand up for them­selves so I’d al­ways get into trou­ble. Plus, I had ADHD, which made me very dis­rup­tive in class.

The one thing I’ve owned the long­est is my tas­bih (prayer beads). I’ve had it since I con­verted to Is­lam. Fear makes me an­gry. Most of it stems from in­jus­tice. In the same breath, fear also drives me to face the very sit­u­a­tions or peo­ple that have left me fear­ful.

My big­gest pho­bia is heights. I’ve bungee-jumped, free-fallen and zi­plined but I still feel like dy­ing each time.

My favourite thing to do for a woman is to make her feel like she’s the cen­tre of my uni­verse. I do this by either tak­ing her out, go­ing away on hol­i­day or cook­ing for her (I cook very well, by the way!). Women have a lot to deal with as it is, so it’s im­por­tant to make them feel like queens be­cause so­ci­ety doesn’t ap­pre­ci­ate them much. I trea­sure women be­cause I was raised by my mom and aunts — all of whom are amaz­ing women.

The first thing I no­tice about peo­ple is their warmth. I can al­most read a per­son’s char­ac­ter from their hand­shake, eye con­tact and smile. The best de­ci­sion I ever made was to stop drink­ing, tem­po­rar­ily. It was af­ter my sec­ond di­vorce three years ago, and I moved back in with my mother for a bit. My mother’s re­as­sur­ance was all I needed to re­build my life.

The least true ru­mour about me is that I’m a snob. This usu­ally comes from peo­ple who don’t know me.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa

© PressReader. All rights reserved.