A POWERFUL voice likened to broadcasting phenomenon Ezra Tshisa Sibanda has emerged in Zimbabwe’s airwaves following the formation of two new radio stations - Star FM and ZiFM.
His name is Phathisani Sibanda and is affectionately known as Phathie by his multitude of fans. He is seen in Zimbabwe as the heir to the Ezra and Eric Knight era, let alone a fitting replacement of the two legends.
When Ezra and Eric left the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation, there was a nationwide outcry that the country has lost broadcasting heroes. There was a consensus that Zimbabwe may take a very long time before replacing the calibre of Ezra and Eric, contra to such views, an equally talented broadcaster in the name of Phathisani Sibanda has emerged.
Zimbabwe seem to have found a proper replacement for Ezra Tshisa's exit.
Those who tune into the early morning show on Star FM from 3-6 am every week day will tell you that the hosts of the show give a refreshing edge to early morning radio.
In an interview this week, Phathisani said: “My favourite presenters were ubhudi uEzra Tshisa, Innocent Tshuma and Tich Mataz and from outside the country I liked S’bu Buthelezi from Ukhozi FM”.
He fronts a shift aptly titled Breakout together with the talkative Nduduzo Dube and the hilarious Owen “Ola” Madondo is a definite must listen.
Although the show is held in the wee hours when most people are in bed, the trio adds colour and gives flavour to the programme with their endless wit and captivating gimmicks.
Saturday Leisure spoke to one of the hosts, Phathisani Sibanda, affectionately known as Phathie, on the airwaves, who described his move to radio as a great turn of events.
“I had never been into broadcasting, I worked at Diamond Studios, I studied musicology at college and I worked at the recording stable that worked with the likes of Sulumani Chimbetu, Jah Prayzah, among other artistes but was later fired.
“I then heard of Star FM auditions and there were no shortcuts, I made it out of the more than 2 000 people that went for the auditions. It was really a great turn of events. I had not dreamt of it even one day,” said Phathie.
The radio presenter who speaks fluent Ndebele, Shona, Kalanga, Nyanja and Tswana, said he was born in Bubi District and then moved to Harare where he has spent the greater part of his life.
“I was born in Bubi District many years ago, then we moved to Harare where I did my primary education at Kurai Primary School in Kambuzuma before finishing off the secondary education at Ellis Robins High School.”
Although he had never dreamt of being on the airwaves one day, he had some radio presenters that he loved to listen to.
The three-hour programme is a melting pot of ghetto issues.
“The three of us are from the ghetto and there is so much that happens there and that is what we tackle every morning
“If you look at the time we go on air, around 3am, most of the people who will be awake by that time are kombi drivers and we have a session where we talk to them and other issues that they encounter in their day-to-day business and it is quite entertaining,” said Phathie.
During the Breakout, the easy going combination also call any celebrity from musicians, footballers, actors and politicians to check on them. They have also taken on board the controversial preacher Mai Gunguwo whom they refer to as a social commentator who deals with family issues.
“Those who tune in to our programme will testify that they have many-a-time been left in stitches when we call celebrities in the wee hours of the morning when they are enjoying their sleep.
You know when someone is caught off guard from a deep slumber, they just say anything and that makes it interesting. We ask them questions like where is your wife or husband, who are you sleeping with at this moment, among other issues,” said Phathisani.
Asked on the day he would never forget when he was on air.
“You know, one day we called Chinotimba early in the morning and I asked him how many children he has, oh my word! The answer I got:
‘Iwe unevangani ndiudze, unomhanyira kubvunza ini iwe unevangani ndiudze How many do you have yourself, tell me, you rush to ask me, how many do you have, tell me)’ fumed Chinotimba,” said the radio DJ in stitches.
He continued: “I then asked him if he knew that many people coined jokes about his name and he said: ‘Inhaka yandakasiirwa navaMuzenda (It’s a legacy bequeathed to me from the late Vice-President Muzenda)’”, said Chinotimba.
Phathie shared his experiences on his first time on radio as a presenter.
“Oh my word, you know you will be trying to find yourself, nervous and there were lots of blunders. I was not confident.
“But thanks to the extensive guidance and nurturing from veteran presenters Innocent Tshuma and Leander Kandiero, I am more than confident now. I can address even a million people,” said Phathisani confidently.
Although he refused to disclose his age, he also shared on his private life.
“I am married and I have two lovely children, Thuthukani and Thubalami.
“I am a Seventh Day Adventist and I am a Bosso fan, I make it a point that I watch it in action whenever they are in Harare,” said the former studio manager.
He said his favourite music is Zim dancehall and house music.