Siyabonga Mdlalose (37) has become the Mzansi TV host you never want to see pulling up to your house or place of business.
He has the huge responsibility of exposing the rot in society. “Bhuti fix the country,” a social media user recently labelled him.
Some Moja Love (DStv 157) Skhipha Amafiles viewers were even calling on God to protect him for the work he does as he exposes thuggery, fraud, intimidation and injustice in society. “One thing about Siya? He'll wait the whole day if he has to, to face criminals and abusers of power,” another one wrote.
He tells DRUM that the applause and appreciation he gets from viewers is overwhelming. “It makes me feel a bit it feels like I am a fish out of water,” he says.
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“We are here to fix the country. We are not here to play,” Siyabonga says.
The show is nearing the end of the second season and has exposed more heated confrontations.
“We have definitely gone more investigative. We spend more time on stories and I guess the calibre of stories has gone bigger,” he explains.
For him, a recent episode that was quite impactful was when an employee alleged that a manager was demanding sex for work. “These are common issues that people are afraid to address. Having to expose such and sensitize those in similar situations suffering silently in society really adds a sense of greater purpose and pride to one’s job,” Siyabonga says.
This case is in court. “People have rights and have to be treated with dignity and fairly. There is so much that is swept under the rug and we are happy to make a difference,” he adds.
There is a lot to choose from but he says there are episodes that have personally touched him like the Chiawelo Clinic in Soweto. “We had been hearing about this clinic. People have not been happy with poor treatment from nurses when in desperate need of medical attention. It is a big problem when there is gross negligence to a point that a pregnant woman ends up giving birth in a Quantum because a nurse refuses to help and another woman had labour pains and was in labour but she was told to go back home because her baby was not coming out. It was sad that that woman lost her baby, a pain she will never forget,” Siya says.
Siyabonga has been in the industry for 14 years, many know him as a presenter on Moja Love, but he has hosted and produced other shows like Making Moves on SABC 1 and talk show Take 5 back in the day. Having to confront people the way he has on this show and a previous show he hosted on the channel Ku Kithi La is something that needed some adjusting to.
He admits it is not easy as it may look. “I pray every day because you never what you are walking into. I will go into a situation chilled but it does get heated as the person being confronted gets hyped up very quickly. However, I never antagonize.
“I stay grounded and stay family orientated, I respect people I work with and importantly the work I do. It is also about not letting all the embrace get to the head. Our industry is fickle, today you might be the toast of the town and tomorrow you might be not be.”