I have always found great pleasure in tuning into community radio stations. Growing up in Soweto, we would listen to the Voice of Soweto, now known as Jozi FM. What struck me was their ability to effectively address the issues that were relevant to the Sowetan community. It was refreshing to hear local voices speaking directly to us about topics such as education, health, politics, and other subjects that directly impacted our lives. In this interview, we have the opportunity to speak with Refiloe Motsei, the afternoon drive host of Jozi FM, as well as influential voices in Soweto, about the significance of community radio stations.
Muzi: How did you end up in the broadcasting industry,and what has been the most significant accomplishment in your career thus far?
Refiloe: I have always maintained that radio was not my choice, but rather, it chose me. My journey in the industry has been truly remarkable, starting from my time at Anglo Platinum Radio, which had a corporate and client-centred approach. I then transitioned to Voice of Tembisa, and I am currently a part of the largest community radio station in the southern hemisphere. This esteemed station has been recognized as the number one radio choice by City Press Readers’ Choice Award, attaining platinum status, which signifies its top-ranking position. Throughout my career, I have had several notable experiences, but the most significant one for me was the opportunity to interview the president of South Africa, Cyril Ramaphosa.
Muzi: Community radio stations are widely recognised for their ability to cater to specific geographic audiences and communities, fostering connections among individuals who share common interests. I would appreciate hearing your perspective on the importance and impact of these community-oriented radio stations.
Refiloe: Community radio stations play a vital role in our society. We are situated at the core of our communities, allowing us to connect with people on a personal level rather than being distant celebrities. Our primary focus is on addressing the real-life challenges that individuals face on a daily basis, such as crime, unemployment, and social issues. We have even gone so far as to assist some of our listeners by helping them rebuild their homes after they were destroyed.
In addition, we provide financial education and tackle the issues that affect the younger generation, including violence against women and children. In essence, we consider ourselves as public servants, providing information, education, and entertainment to our community. It is important to note that we communicate in a language that our listeners can easily relate to and comprehend.
Muzi: Community radio stations,through storytelling,interviews,and music,can be a great way to preserve culture and traditions”.How important is your voice in the community in preserving culture,particularly Sowetan culture, given that the majority of your listeners are from Soweto?
Refiloe: I’m a die hard Sowetan girl, born,raised, went to school, and Jozi FM is located in Soweto so I work in Soweto lol. Soweto has its own culture, also times are changing we constantly have to keep up.
Muzi: What are you currently busy with, any future plans?
Refiloe: I am currently working on a number of projects, the first of which is Apara Local Friday, where every Friday we wear locally made clothing from different places such as Soweto, Thembisa and Voslorous and as an influencer I showcase their business on various social platforms, something that I’ve been doing for a year. I enjoy supporting and promoting local businesses, from salons to restaurants. I also work with Jozi FM on a school shoe and hygiene project, where we distribute school shoes and hygiene materials to various schools on a monthly basis.
Finally, growing up in Soweto there is a culture of spinning cars, especially BMW (Gusheshe) and I have always been fascinated by this space since I was a little girl and I plan to explore this male dominated industry and as for the future, I can’t reveal much, but you will find out in time.
Catch Refiloe weekdays 3-6pm on Jozi FM (105.8FM)