Friday, March 1, 2024

Uncle Shima hangs the mic

By Ruth Kedikilwe

This afternoon, Uncle Shima will hang the mic’. Botswana’s foremost jazz radio disc jockey will host his last show on radio on the local radio station Gabz Fm. Shima Monangeng affectionately known to his legion of fans, friends, family and peers as Uncle Shima says the time has come for him to spread his wings and explore other avenues.

 “Sometimes the best thing about holding on is knowing when to let go. I am not completely letting go since I will still be available on my various social media platforms”, she says.

Uncle Shima will officially leave the Gabz FM radio station today (Sunday) after his last show, his talents go beyond the microphone as he is also a renowned Real Estate professional who runs his own company, Monageng Valuers. He is also a veteran politician well known in the Kweneng District and has been a contender for the Molepolole South Constituency for quite some time and an all rounder jazzman. Uncle Shima confirmed his exit from Gabz FM where he has been at the helm of one of the most listened to jazz shows; The Joy of Jazz Fusion for the past 18 years. He cut his teeth as a jazz radio DJ with RB 2 where he spent seven years.

Uncle Shima’s illustrious career on radio started at RB2 in 1994, as the new host of ‘Jazz For You’.  “Everything has a beginning and an end. It has been a pleasant and fulfilling road”, he says.

On his decision to quit Gabz-FM, Uncle Shima said “the station is undergoing a restructuring phase and we mutually agreed to part ways,” He appreciates the support he has been getting over the years from both stations and the public at large.

Uncle Shima’s love affair with jazz began whilst he was still in high school at Kgari Sechele Senior Secondary where he was part of the Christian movement known as the Scripture Union. He was into gospel music and was always carrying cassettes around.  All this changed after the arrival of South African refugees following the 1976 Soweto uprising. , “South African students who schooled at Kgari Sechele were different, they played music we didn’t know and they were considered cool and instantly became a hit with the ladies”, he recalls.

Uncle Shima later befriended the South African legion and his perspective on music changed forever. “I still cherish those years at Kgari Sechele Secondary where I first heard of legends like Miles Davis, Charlie Parker and others,” he says.

Uncle Shima was later recruited by radio veteran Monica Mphusu, the RB 2 Station Manager at the time who felt that his deep voice would be perfect for a jazz show. After seven years at the national commercial radio station, Monageng received another call from Sidney Baitsile who was the new Gabz FM Station Manager. “He told me I’d be perfect for Gabz FM, and I immediately switched allegiances and started a relationship that surpassed two decades,” said Uncle Shima with a hint of nostalgia.

“In my 25 years on the airwaves there have been ups and downs, but would rather focus on career highlights. One of my proudest achievements is that I have interviewed almost all local jazz artists and have played a meaningful role in launching and promoting their music careers. I have also interviewed international jazz stars such as Sadao Watanabe, George Benson, Kirk Whalum and many other South African artists.” He says one of the biggest moments in his career was when together with Bro ED who hosted a jazz show for Radio BOB in South Africa broadcasted live from Gaborone Club. It was a jazz festival and the two radio stations did broadcast live from 2pm to 9pm alternating. Later on Sipho Gumede performed till late.

He strongly feels that a jazz show on radio has to be presented by a person with vast knowledge and experience of jazz right from its inception since it is a cultural art form. He gave example of Brenda Sesane at Khaya FM, Nothemba Madumo who is currently with Metro FM. Radio 2000s KG Mooketsi and Shardo Twala all in South Africa. In Botswana Uncle Shima made special mention of Bapasi Mpusu, Lesole Obone and the late Soarce Katumbela. “Jazz is not a joke. it is serious stuff, a kind of genre listened to by people who look beyond their noses and sometimes sophisticated. Even the greatest of the music take it seriously to the extent that they studied at universities up to PhD level,” Says the prolific jazz presenter.

His main involvement on radio was to teach, entertain and promote local talent by interviewing & playing Batswana jazz artists. “My very last show on Gabz-FM is this Sunday where I will be calling it quits and from then on wards I shall sit back, reminisce and listen to various jazz shows locally and abroad on Sundays and relax with my family, for I have done my part on radio”.


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