It’s been about 14
years since Shonisani ‘Ashifashabba’ Muleya had South Africans in stitches with
his comedy show Ashifashabba on SABC 2.
The comedian and radio personality is now enjoying life as a radio broadcaster which is the reason behind his scarcity from our television screens.
Ashifashabba, who is well known for his comedy skirts on his self-titled show says he decided to go back to radio.
Read more: Ashifashabba is more than just a comedian
“I moved back to Limpopo in 2006, Polokwane to be precise when the first commercial radio station was licensed in the province. After my stint at Capricorn FM ended, and then started two (02) very successful urban radio stations, Energy FM and Choice FM in Polokwane and Thohoyandou respectively,” he says.
THE CHALLENGES HE FACED
He admits it has not been a walk in the park to get those stations off the ground. He says it is through the assistance of some close friends that he managed to pull it off.
“Funding is always an issue for start-ups. Energy FM took off the ground using personal investments from myself and my business partner Simphiwe Mdlalose who is a Chairman of the radio station. A year into the operations the Small Enterprise Financial Agency approved funding which we used to upgrade our studio equipment and as they say the rest is history.
“Then in 2016, ICASA which is the broadcasting regulator approved another licence for Choice FM which is based in Thohoyandou inside Thavhani Mall. The same funding challenges with the first station were experienced in terms of lack of funding, but my other business partner Mr Stanley Luvhengo who is the Chairman of the radio station assisted and the radio station is now flourishing,” he explains.
He says it gives him great pleasure that he has managed to help equip the youth of that province with training and job opportunities through these stations.
A TV COMEBACK
Even though radio is keeping Ashifashabba quite busy, he promises that he will not totally abandon television.
“Will I come back to TV? The answer is a big YES,” he vows.
He is mindful of the fact that TV has evolved and there’s something he’s trying to make. He only hints that it will be a comedy show and doesn’t divulge how it will be formatted.
“Well, the television landscape as it was then for sketch comedy and now has changed, so I have a fresh and powerful idea for the new Ashifashabba Television Comedy show,” he says.
TELLING YOUR OWN STORY
Ashifashabba says artists ought to start owning their work by starting their own production houses and not look to big companies to tell their stories. He says he owned his TV show and signed contracts directly with the SABC.
“I believe that more artists need to rise up and own production houses, that to make sure that their original stories they want to tell are not distorted by owners of big production houses who have big budgets and thus dictate terms, sometimes leading to distortion of original story ideas,” he says.
As busy as he might be with radio, the father-of-three says he makes time for his children and family.
“Wow, I really enjoy sharing my space with my three children, Mukundi (20), Tshimangadzo (9) and my youngest Unarine (3). Family comes first and I ensure that I spend as much time as possible with all my kids despite not staying with them fulltime,” he shares.
After separating with his wife Vhonani Neluvhalani in 2015, Ashifashabba has been cagey about sharing details of his personal life and won’t address how co-parenting is going.
“I am a very private person, so I prefer to keep that part private. You know what neh? But on a lighter note, Can people just do their thing for themselves and enjoy life nje please? I beg you to understand my fellow African people [sic],” he says.