Thobela FM sidelining ZCC music, Limpopo artists say

Gospel music is incomplete without traditional ZCC choral music.

These are the sentiments of Limpopo artists who have come guns blazing against SABC radio station Thobela FM for allegedly sidelining traditional ZCC music on their playlist.

Limpopo Artists Movement (LAM) wrote a scathing letter to the SABC requesting intervention as they believe that their music is receiving no attention at the station, which is based in Polokwane, a few metres away from ZCC church headquarters, Moria.

In the letter, which Sunday World has seen, LAM provincial chairperson Mphoza Mashabela, speaking on behalf of artists, said the station’s bias was also clear on a Thursday programme called Gospel Thursday, where little to no ZCC genre music is played.

The letter reads: “LAM took a resolution to approach you regarding ZCC music genre. We received complaints from our members about Gospel Thursday. Thobela FM Gospel Thursday does not include ZCC genre, most dominating genre is workshop songs.”

The letter was written to Oupa Mamabolo, who is the regional station head in Limpopo, on Tuesday this week.

In addition to being sidelined on the Thursday programme, Mashabela also stated that the station’s playlist also lacked ZCC songs on a Sunday.

“Even on Sunday, only a few songs are ZCC genre or traditional gospel. Airplay is still a major problem in your station after a number of times that we engage with you,” he said.

“We are calling on the music compiler to give the genre attention and playlist us on Thursday and Sunday. We demand equal treatment… We believe that our request will be taken into consideration.”

When contacted for comment, Mashabela said the movement, which represents a majority of Limpopo-based artists, took it upon themselves to engage with the broadcaster because they felt that some artists were being prejudiced.

He said: “They can play other genres as well, we are not saying they should not. We are representing all our members and some are complaining that the station is only pushing Christian (bazalwane) gospel a lot than others, week in and week out.”

SABC spokesperson Mmoni Seapolelo had not yet commented by the time of publishing.

However, Sunday World has seen a reply from Mamabolo on Thursday, where he said he had received the complaint and had escalated the matter.

“Our business manager, ntate Matjila, will ponder upon this one and I guarantee you that if there is merit, he shall revert to you. He is often very prompt when dealing with such matters,” he said.

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