South African-based Zimbabwean radio personality George Munetsi is making waves across the continent after he was featured on a song called “Incwadi Encane” by Zahara. The ex-Radio 3 DJ, who is now the host of “Georgie-In-The-Afternoon” programme on South Africa’s Kaya FM has proved that he is not only good at spinning tunes but singing them
too. Our Entertainment Reporter Jonathan Mbiriyamveka (JM) attended the MTN South African Music Awards courtesy of ZIMA and had a chance for a one-on-one interview Munetsi (GM). Below are excerpts of the interview.
JM: Could you tell us how you felt after winning your first MTN SAMA?
GM: First commercial song and I get a SAMA for it? What a feeling! Very elated.
All those years of holding back were all paid for in one instalment. There are artistes who have been on the SA music scene for a long time and never got a SAMA award, so for a relatively “newbie” like me to get one defies words.
JM: Almost all Zimbabweans had hoped to see you getting the award. Why didn’t you attend the event?
GM: I have been a judge for some SAMA categories for as long as I can remember and they have always afforded me accreditation for two people to the event, so naturally I expected the same or even better since I was now attending as a nominee. Imagine my frustration when I went to collect my accreditation and I was told it only entitles entry for one person. I couldn’t buy another ticket because by that time all the tickets were already sold out so I handed them back my accreditation. Later I met a colleague who had accreditation for two people and she was not keen on attending the event, so we called the organisers to tell them that I would now use my colleague’s accreditation but they refused the request because ‘it’s not transferable!’ So yah, I watched the event on TV.
JM: We understand you insisted that Zahara feature you on that project, is this why she never mentioned you in her acceptance speech?
GM: I never insisted. I gave Zahara her first ever radio interview long before she went into studio to record her album. During the interview I asked her if she would consider featuring me on one of her songs when she starts recording, and she agreed.
When she was recording, she called me and I went in to do her part. She even told me that she’s glad she decided to feature me and didn’t listen to the negative advice she was getting from people who wanted to convince her it wasn’t a wise decision to feature me on such an important debut project. I don’t know where this “insisting” insinuation came from. The choice was hers to either agree or not to agree to the collaboration really. She agreed, we worked well together and we ended up with a very good product.
JM: What inspired the song and what is it about George?
GM: The song is a Zahara song. When I was given the song it was already complete, including Zahara’s lyrics and I was expected to complement her lyrics with my Shona influence. So on the Shona part of the lyrics, I am basically interpreting the whole scenario as contained in the song, albeit in Shona, and adding on things or words that Zahara is talking about, would have said in addition.
The song is about a guy or girl who wakes up and finds a letter on the bedside table. He/she assumes that the letter is from his/her mom, but when he/she reads it, finds that it’s from a lover who has left for an unknown destination, to try and find themselves and do not know when they will return. So the song is a plea for that lover to come back.
JM: Given the success of the song “Incwadi Encane”, are you seriously considering music as a career or was it just for fun?
GM: I have unofficially been doing music for as long as I can remember and longer than I have been a DJ. Music was my first love, so yes, I will now be following music more intently. When I was in Zimbabwe recently, I left a copy of my latest single collaboration with Kudzi Marudza and Comfort (Mbofana) and I hear it’s doing the rounds on Power FM and Spot FM.
JM: Most fans expected to see you on stage with Zahara during her debut performance in Harare in February this year. Could you explain why you didn’t show up?
GM: It happens all the time all over the world. People who collaborate on songs hardly ever really get to perform the song(s) together during live gigs, usually because they have their own independent projects running on the side and schedules hardly ever coincide. I recently interviewed BB Winans on a show that he was going to do here in South Africa and I asked him why every time he comes to perform in SA, Cece is not with him and he ends up getting somebody else to do Cece’s parts. He pointed out that they have two different schedules. If I had been in Harare during Zahara’s visit there, I certainly would have performed with her. We have performed together here in South Africa when we happen to be booked on the same bill.
JM: Would you like to share with us your future plans and if you looking forward to coming back home and join the new radio stations?
GM: I am busy recording my album now, and I would like to sign up some artistes under my label after my album is released. I would also like to now move into radio management. If that opportunity comes in the form of a suitable radio station in Zimbabwe, I would certainly consider it (terms and conditions apply . . . lol). I would love to come back home eventually and assist in radio development. I have learnt so much about radio management during my stay here in SA and I realise just how much radio management we didn’t apply to our own Zim radio stations that could have added value to the listener. Radio has evolved so much, and the days of radio DJs just sitting in the studio and playing music and thumb-sucking links out of their thumbs are over. Listeners require a whole more interaction and relevant content from us. Question is, do we have the suitably qualified and passionate people who are willing to work hard to constantly source that content, and the facilities to source that content with?