As I sat in my car, mentally preparing myself for my journey to my new job (or rather my new position at my old job, down in the South), I contemplated doing what I used to do – switching on the radio, tuning in to uKhozi FM and listening to the news in isiZulu. But I stopped myself.
You see, it’s not just that the news has been quite depressing lately, nor that I have officially left school-teaching and thus have no-one with whom to share the news I hear. It’s because I feel more than a little violated when listening to any organ of the SABC machine.
Allow me to explain.
I used to listen to the news, and particularly the three daily current affairs sections of the news (Ezanamuhla, Ezisematheni and Abasikibebunda), because I appreciated that they were objective and quite often critical viewpoints on our country. I enjoyed listening to the various reporters impartially roasting all purveyors of lies and half-truths. I enjoyed being able to point out to friends and family that there, at 91.5 on my Jozi dial, I could hear free and fair opinions of things expressed in poetic vernacular. I loved the fact that the banter of the DJs frequently included our illustrious president and his foibles, with limited censorship.
But this has all changed. Since our country decided to inaugurate its Propaganda Ministry (for want of a more euphemistic title), all of those things that I used to love have been eradicated from uKhozi FM. Now, when I tune in, I hear carefully crafted paeans in honour of the ANC instead. I hear the lies spewed by various dignitaries of the party. Nothing is sacred – not even the children’s shows at 9:15 every morning. I can hear the things NOT being said, and it brings me a great deal of discomfort. And, since there is nothing I can do to change the new content of the station, I now plug in my phone and set the playlist to shuffle. I listen to music from elsewhere as I creep along the highway, because I can’t bear to be complicit with the lies.
So I’m sorry, uKhozi FM. I am no longer one of your 8 million listeners. And that saddens me.