Morris Mtisi Post Correspondents
LAST Sunday, the Station manager, Mr Leander Kandiyero, sealed the glittering radio celebrities’ programme, Know Them Better with MM, in style. He insinuated opening a possible extension into sister radio stations like Star FM pretty soon. What a way to end a scintillating radio show! The programme has been running for close to six months since February 2018.
MM: Mr Kandiyero where were you born and how long back is that? A polite way of asking you how old you are!
LK: Right here in Mutare . . . to be precise at Mutare General Hospital . . . 39 years ago.
MM: Quite a very young adult. Of course a product of this community! And your Primary education? Take us through that part of the journey.
LK: Absolutely. Started at Florida . . . not Florida in America . . . Florida in Mutare-Zimbabwe . . . at Baring Primary School. I pass through that school almost every day. It is still beautiful . . . spruced up and looks much more beautiful really. But for Grade one went across the road at the Social Centre near the school. Then we would graduate and move to the main school . . . which I did up to Grade seven.
MM: Any teachers you remember like yesterday? Perhaps even class and school-mates . . . just a few!
LK: I remember Mr Marandure was our school head, then his son taught us a little bit , Mai Ngorima of course, and then Mr Sydney Langeveldt, my Grade 6 and 7 teacher. I loved theatre Mr Mtisi.
I remember we staged Romeo and Juliet and I played County Paris who was supposed to marry Juliet but then she didn’t love me (him). Fantastic play! I meet the Romeo quite often. In fact met him a few days ago-Tichaona Madziwa, and I still call him Romeo. Beautiful memories!
MM: So the journey started in Florida, then St Dominic’s and finally St John’s Emerald in Harare? At what stage of this nomadic youthfulness did the radio obsession begin?
LK: Right at home. My father was a Radio One fanatic. Mum criss-crossed from that to Radio 3 . . . and so I grew up loving radio. But like every child then, radio was a mystery.
Are the people speaking in the radio real? How did they get into the radio? I would like to be one of these when I grow up, I always dreamt.
MM: Still quite a mystery even today Lee Kay. Little surprise, we still receive many schools, especially the more rural ones visiting Diamond FM . . . simply to discover what goes on in the studios. But can you say attending Baring Primary School gave you in some special way an edge or advantage over children who went to more rustic or countrified schools?
LK: Not at all. My father was a headmaster at Sakubva Primary School. So I knew what it was like to be at such a school. It’s about who you are and how much you put in your learning that matters, not the location of the school.
MM: Did you ever think or dream one day you would be as prominent as you are now . . . in whatever way, on radio?
LK: It started with my elder brother George and his friend Lloyd Makadzange. They initiated me into a backyard sort of DJ. They were very technical and never wanted to buy a proper PA system. So what do they do? They improvise a home-made PA system and start Dee-jaying. I was only in Form 2. They took me by storm and I thought ‘‘All my life this is what I want to do.’’
MM: I’m sure your parents must have thought . . . ‘‘This boy!’’
LK: My father had passed on then. Mum didn’t want to hear any of that nonsense. But she loved music and bought a lot of cassettes for me in the old Meikles Stores. So the appetite for dee-jaying remained sharp. When my ‘‘initiators’’ left for Harare-went to school, I remained with the PA system.
Going it solo now! My first dee-jaying, all by myself, was in Sakubva. At first it was a near-fiasco, but when I came back to my senses and thought about the DJs I hero-worshipped, suddenly the best came out from nowhere. And what a fantastic success! How I ended up at ZBC is a long interesting story but I tell you it came after numerous unsuccessful applications.
MM: Is radio today what it was like those days?
LK: I tell you radio today is the most popular of the electronic media . . . more powerful than television and all of it.
MM: You reckon? Really? . . .With authority?
LK: Radio is defined as the media for the simple man . . . I am sure because it is cheap and accessible. You can listen to radio while cooking, working, driving, unlike television or newspaper etc.
Which demand rigid concentration. And of course radio is more interactive today. The likes of my own role models-Peter Jones, Tsitsi Mawarire and Miss DJ-Eunice Goto were stars of direct engagement and interaction.
MM: Did this radio culture change you in some way as a young man?
LK: Of course. It was Tsitsi Mawarire who did that once I was on ZBC. She shifted my attention from simple straight dee-jaying, simply playing music, to loving and understanding the joy of talk-shows and anchoring programmes that touched and changed lives through dialogue and debate. She spoke this new concept and perception of interactive broadcasting into me. And I owe it all to her.
MM: The next question may be a bit worrying, certainly for me. The Media is the main culprit for damaging the moral and cultural fibre of our children. Have you ever heard that remark? How worried are you as a station manager of the one and only radio station in Manicaland — perhaps the best in the country?
LK: True. Social studies espouse the thought that there is Primary socialisation-which is gained at home . . . and then Secondary socialisation gained through the rest church, school etc. But the biggest single agent of secondary socialisation is the Media. So yes, that is very true.
MM: How much does that worry you?
LK: Certainly worrisome, I agree. We need to be extremely careful about the way we push our information and music, the content we push to the audience.
We need to make sure we peddle sound, adequate and correct information. Even the way we conduct ourselves, our dress, our language, because Mr Mtisi, we carry such powerful influence responsible for shaping the way people talk, dress, act and think. So yes, Media is largely responsible for pushing values, thoughts and attitudes. But we need to be extremely careful. We must keep radio clean!
MM: Government has gone full throttle on a new dispensation, meaning new way or approach of conducting business-whatever it is. The education sector has adopted a new curriculum. Any new dispensation in the approach of radio broadcasting in the offing?
LK: Soon and very soon we could be extending our frequency reach. I will not let much of the cat out of the bag at this stage. But it is coming . . . soon. And we want to take radio to the people and become more interactive with our listeners.
MM: We have come to the end of this scintillating talk-show my captain, the last in the series. Allow me to thank all Diamond FM DJs and presenters who availed themselves and made KNOW THEN BETTER a terrific success. I hope you enjoyed participating as much as I enjoyed presenting the show. But I won’t let you go away before you say hello to your wife and children.
LK: Thanks Mr Mtisi. They are not in Manicaland but I know they are enjoying wherever they are. Listen! I love you guys . . . I miss you. I know vachataurirwa kuti maichingamidzwa ndibaba.
To my sweet wife Sofia and my two boys and one girl, I call them 2BG: Tasimba, the big boy, Nenyasha, the girl in the middle and the third and youngest boy Mukundi . . . this is the one who loves music and radio; I love you guys and miss you . . . wherever you are. But I’m sure I will see you soon.
MM: What a way to end a great show! What an honour and privilege to be working at Diamond FM and with you, Captain Lee Kay, on Diamond FM Radio! May the good Lord give you more years, intellect and wisdom to captain this big ship to its intended destination!
Listeners please note that soon the programme Know Them Better With MM will resume, featuring DJs and presenters on StarFM. Keep your fingers crossed!