Veteran Ukhozi FM broadcaster Welcome Nzimande dies

15 January 2021 - 13:23 By zimasa matiwane
Veteran Ukhozi FM broadcaster Welcome Nzimande has died.
Veteran Ukhozi FM broadcaster Welcome Nzimande has died.
Image: Supplied

Veteran broadcaster Welcome “Bhodloza” Nzimande has died.

The news of Nzimande’s death was announced by Ukhozi FM on Friday morning, where he worked as a broadcaster and subsequently station manager.

Nzimande, 73, also presented  a television maskandi music show, Ezodumo.

The radio station, through its Twitter account, expressed pain at the death of its former station manager.

“You played your role in this world, you developed radio and traditional music, we thank you for your contribution,” the tweet read.

Nzimande joined the station in 1978, two years after the birth of Radio Zulu.

Through programmes like Sigiya Ngengoma, he championed maskandi music through traditional acts such as uThwalofu namaNkentshane, Umfaz' Omnyama and uKhethani no Phuzukhemisi.

For 19 years behind the mic, Nzimande's passion and dedication for the genre propelled maskandi to the enviable status of the pride of Ukhozi FM listeners and it became one of the most popular, even among non-Zulu speakers.

Nzimande cofounded the South African Traditional Music Association (Satma) with the late Joseph Shabalala of Ladysmith Black Mambazo, an initiative that paved the way for the launch of the Satma awards in 2005.

Under Nzimande's leadership as station manager for 13 years from 1997, Ukhozi FM - so named after 1995 - scaled the heights to become the SABC's biggest ethnic station.

Bhodloza was among those important broadcasters who successfully used the power of radio to bring about peace.
Sihle Zikalala

KwaZulu-Natal premier Sihle Zikalala described Nzimande as a doyen of radio, adding that Nzimande’s passing signalled the end of a unique and incomparable era in the history of broadcasting.

“During the dark days of apartheid, these broadcasters captured the minds and souls of their multitude of listeners. With their incredible intellect, they used their voices to give meaning to radio as theatre of the mind,” said Zikalala.

“When political violence was tearing through parts of the province in the 1990s, Bhodloza was among those important broadcasters who used the power of radio to bring about peace. He also used the medium to fight the scourge of taxi violence.”

Zikalala also credited Nzimande, the “father of maskandi music”, for using his radio and television platforms to redefine and elevate the genre, destroying negative stereotypes about “backwardness” that were once associated with it.

“Bhodloza’s fingerprints are easily traceable in the genre’s rapid and unprecedented growth up to a point where a maskandi song becomes Song of the Year. He was a remarkable South African who will be sorely missed.”