Ligwalagwala FM bids farewell to stalwart
After a cyclical 35 years of good memories and great friendships
“Tigudla umgwenya” were the famous words coined by Shushu Baby to his listeners for a long time during his tenure as afternoon drive time show host on Ligwalagwala FM. After a cyclical 35 years of good memories and great friendships made with Shukuma Arthur Lukhele, the station bids him farewell. His departure has dismayed thousands of Ligwalagwala FM listeners who avidly grew up listening to him and grew to love him.
Be that as it may, the legend will never be forgotten.
Known to his listeners as Shushu-baby /Shoes or Meneer Op en Wakker to his older colleagues, Shukuma started with Radio Swazi (now Ligwalagwala FM) in 1982 when the station was founded. He began his career with Radio Swazi as a freelancer, working at the station from the Pretoria branch where the station was based and managed from. This is where he met Alex Nkosi and other colleagues who are no longer with Ligwalagwla FM. Radio Swazi also had a satelite office in Nelspruit and the two offices would meet monthly for staff meetings. It is through those meetings that he met now Acting Station Manager, Ntfonjana Dlamini.
“Our first encounter was just too good - we clicked. I was also yearning to meet the gifted guy who would excel at every show given to him whether it (sic) was his or he was standing in for someone else. He was very warm and welcoming.”
Shukuma was the first officially recognised sports presenter on Ligwalagwala FM but his moment of glory was when he became the first radio jock to break the story about the Persian Gulf War in 1990, an international conflict that was triggered by Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait. That story became linked to him and defined his radio career. His radio experience spanned from being the afternoon drive time show host to the weekend sport host. When the league was on recess and there wasn’t enough content they would play music and Shukuma played what was defined as “rock” music in those days.
“I never missed a show” said a gushing Ntfonjana. “It was three hours of the best music ever! His taste and passion for music was out of this world and his presentation style made anything sound great on air”.
According to Alex Nkosi, who was amongst the colleagues that called Shukuma by ‘Meneer Op en Wakker’ , Shukuma got this name because he was always active behind the microphone.
“Shukuma had a Sunday afternoon show where he used to help his listeners send off any ‘blue Monday’ kind of feelings by coining the phrase ‘Hamba bhabhalaza, hamba Mvulo’ . He was a real talent behind the mic.”
Shukuma is described by his colleagues as an excellent all-rounded presenter that is committed to his work. He also relates very well with other people.Tracy Mathebula, who became the first female sports presenter on the station had only good things to say about her mentor.
“Shoes guided me and took me under his wing. He taught me everything I know about radio today. Being a teacher by profession, he was also a good mentor in this industry. I will forever cherish the on and off air moments we shared together; and will always be grateful to him for sharing his knowledge.”
Speaking to his current Sports Team on Ligwalagwala FM, they all agreed that with Shukuma in the team, the team was complete, goals were scored and without him the team, it would never be same. “That was our captain, our legend, our senior. We will miss him dearly”.
“This is one presenter who was like wine - he matured with time, he never expired and even today he would still give young presenters a run for their money” said Ntfonajana Dlamini.
Shukuma’s last day on Ligwalagwala FM will be on “Kusile Mzansi Breakfast Show” with Madumane on 31 August 2017.
Mduduzi ‘Iron’ Ntiwane, who did the Saturday slot ‘Lasuka Lahlala’ will now take over Shukuma’s ‘Mzansi Breakfast’ Sport. Senzo S remains in his Monday to Thursday ‘Asambe Drive’ Sport and Themebelihle will do the Friday slot; and take over Saturday and Sunday from Iron.