Social – Powering up the airwaves

2013-06-23 14:00

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A flock of early birds gathered at 5.30am in Houghton, Joburg, on Tuesday for the launch of Power FM talk radio station.

The early risers or LOTs (likers of things), some of whom kicked off their duvets as early as 4am, looked good for that time of the day.

Stylish power suits, coats, scarves and boots trended as the unofficial dress code for a particularly chilly Highveld winter morning.

I was delighted to walk right into the beautifully decorated and warm marquee and be welcomed by music royalty in “Princess of Africa” Yvonne Chaka Chaka and “Empress of Song” Sibongile Khumalo.

Flashing some grey in her dreadlocks, Chaka Chaka says she isn’t shy of her age (47, by the way) and never dyes her dreads. Not one to miss an opportunity, she came with two of her latest CDs and asked that the station play one of the songs dedicated to Nelson Mandela.

The cheerful affair – crawling with industry heavyweights – was characterised by loads of laughter, hugs and chants of “amandla”, an obvious reference to the station’s name.

Station manager Ferdinand Mabalane delivered a touching speech, complete with a tear at the end. I suppose starting a radio station is a huge task and its an emotionally charged occasion when you finally launch it.

The event also saw the return of newswoman Nikiwe Bikitsha to the social scene. She has been in Arizona in the US on a fellowship for the last 10 months. Now she is back at eNCA.

The best dressed man in the marquee was Mr Party himself, Given Mkhari, the chairperson of the station, in a tailored black suit. He looked like he’d just stepped off the proverbial magazine cover.

Equally stylish was Mkhari’s business mogul wife, Ipeleng, in a gun metal shimmering dress with peplum detail. It was a family outing, their daughters in full school uniform in tow.

The event soon proved to be “bring-your-child-to-show-off” when Mkhari addressed the audience holding one of his daughters; and then Andile Khumalo, the emcee, brought his son on stage.

Simphiwe Mdlalose bragged that he had five children, all of whom are busy with exams and couldn’t accompany him to the early morning launch.

The gracious Khanyi Dhlomo of Ndalo Media, the second biggest investor in Power FM, delivered a vote of thanks.

She was in an eye-catching, earthy-toned Carolina Herrera dress.

One curious guest was Kaya FM station manager Greg Maloka. He sees synergy between his station and Power FM to attract the lucrative black middle class.

Breakfast was trendy croissants and other nibbles while coffee and tea flowed.

Like a good soup short of pepper to complete the flavour, the only ingredient missing for an excellent party was a live performance by Lira, or something.

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