Cape Town – Good Hope FM has spruced up its line-up, promoting one of its up-and-coming stars to its prime time afternoon drive show.
Kyeezi will host the 3pm to 6pm slot – The Great Drive with Kyeezi.
Also known as The Tall Wonder, Kyeezi (Khanya Siyengo) has a strong connection to Cape Town, having been born and raised in Gugulethu.
Before attending Bishops Diocesan College in high school, Kyeezi spent four years in Detroit, Michigan in the US, with his family.
"Obviously, I came back with a thick American accent, and of course I was made fun of in Gugs, being an isiXhosa man who was now unable to speak isiXhosa, or speaking it with an accent," Kyeezi said.
His mantra is "be great", and that permeates into everything he does.
"I come alive when the mic comes on, I come alive when the headphones are wrapped around my head.
"’Be great’ is not about the destination, it’s about the journey," he said.
"When I’m on air, I want people to have an open conversation with a regular guy, one of them, I’m just the guy."
Kyeezi wasn’t always involved in radio, although music has always been his passion.
"I worked in a bank. I was the guy putting the money in the ATMs. But it never felt like the right fit. Here were all these old people talking about bonds and school fees, and I’m the only one listening to hip-hop thinking about buying sneakers."
He did a stint at UCT Radio before trying out for MTV Base’s V-Jay search and a Good Hope FM talent search. While he wasn’t successful in landing the Good Hope gig, he persevered and his persistence paid off.
"I literally lived at the station and eventually they said I could practice in the back-up studio. I spent so much time in there, and eventually, one of the guys didn’t show up for their show, and they couldn’t make it, so I stood in.
"Eventually, I was doing all kinds of graveyard shows and now I get the opportunity to host Drive, so that’s great."
Station manager Brendan Ficks said it was part of Good Hope’s strategy to groom new talent, rather than search elsewhere for stars.
"We’re fortunate enough to have talent from within. We look inside. We are the breeding ground for new talent. We find them, we groom them – that’s our role; to find and groom new talent. So people should take note when we introduce new talent."
There’s a laundry list of top radio presenters who have found their roots at Good Hope FM, including TV news legend Riaan Cruywagen.
Marketing manager Meega Kieffer said the brand was strong in Cape Town.
"The heritage of the brand is strong. We’re Cape Town’s original," she said.
The station is 54 years old this year.
"We remain young at heart. Even though we play today’s current music, our listeners are those who want to stay current, and stay young at heart," Kieffer said.
"There’s a pride in Cape Town," Ficks continued, "and we are part of that pride and heritage."
"Cape Town is a touch city to crack," Kyeezi said, but he was looking forward to connecting with the Mother City and her people.
Good Hope FM’s Geri Saunders fills the gap left by Kyeezi from 6pm to 9pm on weekdays.