Saturday, September 25, 2021

Legacy of the radio bad boy lives on

“I am the sixth wonder of the world, the greatest thing to ever happen to radio,” he would brag.
And who would dare argue with Luzboy?

Born Losika Seboni, he revolutionised our perception of radio and inspired a whole new generation of budding radio presenters to break out of their cocoon of self censorship and push freedom of expression to its limits.

If Yarona fm was the launch pad for private radio, Luzboy was the rocket that catapulted it into space. Love him or hate him, you could not ignore him.

Nobody could escape his pranks, not even President Festus Mogae or then Police Commissioner Norman Moleboge, who even once threatened to have him arrested.

“Priests would gather to exorcise whatever demons had a hold on his tongue. The Police would jump up at a chance to lock him up for some time. Any loving father would rather he does not come through the front door or any other door for that matter. Any mother would hate to have him as a son-in-law. The press censors would gladly slap him with a restraining order to keep him away from any broadcast wave just to shut him up.”

That is how former Mmegi journalist, Morongwa Phala, summed up Losika Seboni when she wrote about him in 2000.

Luzboy brought a new dimension to radio. Tickled endlessly, listeners were for once willing to let a presenter speak more and play music less. With Luzboy on air, music was a mere interlude and, in my case, a reminder to cast aside a friend’s Motorola. Talk-about headsets and get back to studying.

To his legions of fans, and those who hated him alike, Seboni would ever remain the foul-mouthed Luzboy, or more affectionately, Maluza, a son of Molepolole.

As he would brag on air in typical Luzboy-speak, he schooled at Thorn Hill Primary School, proceeded to Maruapula Secondary School (MAP), continued high school at Mcateer High School in San Francisco, USA, before returning to finish his school at MAP. He then enrolled for a Law degree at the University of Botswana in 1996, graduating in 2001.

It was in 1998, during his third year at UB, that destiny came calling.

“I was a renowned class clown, a hip hop fanatic and I had a huge passion for music,” he says. “My friend, Bissau Gaobakwe, made a recommendation to Moraki Mokgosana, then station manager for the new Yarona fm radio station who were at the time running a broadcast test from The Grand Palm Hotel.”

His first slot on radio was from 1200hours to 1500 hours titled ‘Lechotlho’. The original Yarona fm line-up included Brando, Miss T, Robin Chivadze and Big Duke.

Luzboy would steal the limelight with his controversial on-air comments and derogatory telephone exchanges with some of his listeners.

“For the record,” he insists, “I have never actually sworn on radio. I know I may have said some unflattering remarks to which some people have taken offence but most of it was provoked.”

One of his sidekicks, Dipsybana, was just as controversial, often taking a comical swipe at people living in the townships. And who could forget the gallivanting Daisy bird character with her endless debaucheries, or the Nigerian, Babatunda Babangida with the deep pidgin accent.

Luzboy dismisses as rumour reports that the Botswana Telecommunications Authority had once threatened to revoke Yarona fm’s broadcasting licence on account of his foul mouth.

“Of course, some people called the station to complain about stuff I said on air but we never received any formal complaint from BTA,” he says.

Luzboy left Yarona fm in 2002 to start an advertising company, Synergy Advertising, with a partner before returning to the radio station in 2004 with the drive time show ’36 Chambers’ from 1500 to 1800 hours. He quit radio again to pursue business interests, starting another advertising company, Footprints Advertising, which he is still managing.

“Radio helped me to realise my dream of creative advertising,” Luzboy says.

He also had a short stint at Gabs fm, co-presenting a morning show with Tshepo Ntshole.

Married to his wife Maria for 12 years now and with two children, Luzboy now admits to being a committed member of the Jehovah’s Witnesses. A decade ago, this would have been completely out of character.

“People should not be surprised when I knock on their doors to spread the ‘good news’,” he says. “I have had people think I was pulling a prank on them when I knocked on their doors because of the show I used to do at e-Botswana.”

His radio career may be over but Losika Seboni’s contribution to radio, controversial though it was, endures.

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