FORMER presenters, current staff, the board of directors and loyal listeners were among the notable guests during a gathering to celebrate Mthatha’s oldest and Eastern Cape’s largest community radio station, Unitra Community Radio (UCR FM), as it celebrated 25 years of broadcasting, two weeks ago.
The glittering ceremony was held at the Savoy Hotel in Mthatha on August 27 and attended by only 50 guests, in compliance with COVID-19 regulations, while others joined the celebrations virtually.
The station’s founder, Professor Nomfundo Luswazi, could not physically attend the event, but delivered her congratulatory message virtually. UCR FM boasts a listenership of more than 500 000 and is the second largest station in terms of listenership in the country, after Gauteng-based Jozi FM.
“We are very proud that the station has been a talent feeder to the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) over the years of its existence, with a number of our former presenters being headhunted by the SABC. This is testament to the quality of our on-air talent that has sustained the station to reach the 25-year milestone we are celebrating,” said UCR FM board of directors chairperson, Luvuyo Toni.
Longest serving presenter at the community radio station, Sindile “Sir Jiks” Majikija, reminisced about the good and the bad times as part of UCR FM staff.
“I have been part of the UCR FM project since its planning phase until it went on air for the first time on August 30, 1996,” Majikija recalled.
“There were many ups and downs I experienced over the past 25 years of the station’s existence, but my love and passion for radio and the commitment shown by former and current staff to the success of the project prevented me from giving up on the project. I am very happy that the station has reached this 25 year anniversary milestone,” Majikija added.
“We are very happy that the station’s management has made us part and parcel of the celebrations and we hope the partnership to build the station to reach even greater milestones will continue. We congratulate the station on having achieved this milestone,” said UCR FM listeners’ club secretary, Nonceba Njemla.
Some of the people who started their careers at the station and went on to occupy prominent positions include Eastern Cape Department of Health spokesperson, Sizwe Kupelo, SABC’s Umhlobo Wenene FM midday show co-host, Zintle Mbusi, and Monwabisi “Gudlabatshakazi” Bangi, who hosts the station’s traditional music shows, OR Tambo District Municipality spokesperson, Zimkhita Macingwane, and SABC TV news producer, Joe Manciya.