On June 25, midday, Star FM, a child many were eager to see, was born.
The station took on board both old and new voices to do duty. The creation of the station has resurrected voices that had gone underground, while promising talent has been given the opportunity to shine.
And the station has given a very talented female hip-hop artiste-cum-disc jockey Nonkululeko Vundla better known as Black Bird, an opportunity to do her thing.
Initially the young, charismatic and vibrant lady never imagined herself as a DJ such that when the then yet-to-be-launched Star FM called for auditions, she was not eager to attend.
But a telephone call from Tich Mataz changed DJ Black Bird’s life.
“Naturally, people assume that being a musician can automatically lead one to be a good communicator but that is not the case. I did not think of myself as a DJ. When I heard that there were some tryouts for DJs for this station, I never considered the option,” she said.
“However, it was the call that I got from Tich that altered my life. He knew me through my music and some voice overs that I used to do some time back. Against this background, he advised me to try my luck at the station.”
Her family members, she said, initially did not want her to have anything to do with music or broadcasting. They suggested that she look for something else to do.
Acting on the advice that she received from Tich, she went on to try her hand at Star FM.
“When I was still at school, I used to be an ‘A’ class student. My family wanted me to study something else like law or social studies, rather than focus on music and becoming a broadcaster. They, however, loosened up over time after realising how passionate I was about my music and the fame that I was getting through media publicity,” she narrated.
Though DJ Black Bird is still fine-tuning her act and is determined to become a household name in the field, she says her previous experience in the media and the help from veteran broadcasters is helping a lot.
“We had some broadcasting training in May until the time we went on air. During that time and up to date I have received a lot of encouragement and guidance from veteran DJs such as Innocent Tshuma, DJ Munya and Leander Kandiero. My background in the media has also become handy,” she said.
The Star FM DJ studied for a diploma in Film Making and Broadcasting in South Africa at Allenby Campus. After completion, she temporarily worked at M-Net in 2003. She briefly returned to Zimbabwe and went back south and joined Channel O, where she worked in the company’s website department.
“I’m still a rookie and facing some challenges but I’m managing. Three days before we launched the station, Comfort Mbofana asked me to join him on a morning session called “The Breakfast Club”, which he co-hosts with Bongai Zamchiya and myself. The experience has just been awesome. I also produce the show.”
Being thrown into the deep end has aided the budding DJ catch up fast. She recounts that at one point, on her first slot, she just went quiet for some minutes while on air as the presence of two veteran broadcasters in the studio overwhelmed her.
“I was nervous and felt intimidated. I kept asking myself if I had the capacity to pull through. The first hour of the shift was hell. I’m still a bit nervous but it’s getting better with each passing day,” she said.
Following the successful launch of Star FM, DJ Black Bird wishes the parent company to also secure a television licence.
“I pray that the company win a television licence. This will broaden our horizons. I feel I have a lot to contribute,” she explained.
Black Bird pointed out that though being a DJ and a musician were two different trades, the work is in many ways related.
This, she said, is because radio is the common denominator. The only difference she notes is that she now has to be up at 4am on a daily basis.
With the new demanding career that she has embarked on, the musician-cum-DJ has temporarily put on hold her music career. She will, however, be releasing her third album titled Black Excellence that she has been working on by year-end. DJ Black Bird will also be featuring on the World Hip-Hop Women Mixtapes, a project being produced in the United States.
The DJ also took time to make known her soft spot for disadvantaged children.
“I had the opportunity of experiencing both sides of life. Besides being born and spending some time in Highlands, I once stayed at Harare Children’s Home for two years when my mother passed on in 1995. Family complications led to this development,’ she said.
She further highlighted that she is a goal-getter, who is not affected by setbacks.
“Don’t allow previous circumstances to weigh you down and destroy your dreams. I have been told before that my life is doomed but bit by bit I’m making strides and proving my critics wrong. The idea is to keep on fighting for what you believe in no matter what.”
The 28-year-old divorcee, born to a South African father and a Zambian mother, has two girls, Minana (6) and Nia (5). The DJ with big dreams says she intends to use the platform she has at Star FM to encourage other single mothers as well as women in general to develop an open mind and not to despair.
Blackbird is the last born in a family of four, two boys and two girls.