‘I often slept under my desk, money was tight’ – East Coast Radio host Bongani Mtolo
~ PHOTO: Martin De Kock
Cape Town - His is the voice hundreds of thousands of people tune into every day as they fight their way home through rush-hour traffic at the end of a long day in the office. Bongani Mtolo has become a household name in KwaZulu-Natal, presenting East Coast Drive on Durban’s East Coast Radio with his co-presenter Mags (aka Margaret Westerhof, the former Big Brother contestant).
He’s living his dream, he says. Ever since he was a little kid he fantasised about becoming a radio DJ, soothing listeners with his tunes and entertaining them with his words. But this hasn’t come easy: Bongani (36) tried for years to get his big break and almost went bankrupt in the process, after leaving his lucrative job as a car salesman to follow his heart into broadcasting.
Things hit an all-time low when he was so broke he couldn’t afford to get home after a shift and was forced to sleep under his desk. To make matters worse, his wife Zama lost her job too and for a while the couple – who has two sons, Lwazi (9) and Khwezi (4) – didn’t know where their next meal was coming from. But he persevered, the golden guy of KZN radio says, and just look at him now.
He tells us his tale of trial, error – and eventual triumph.