Broadcast media is something she never focused on as a child.  She thought she would end up as a fashion designer, art director or a musician.  Even at high school, she did not pay much attention to the radio compared to her peers.  By her own admission, the love for the medium came much later.  Today she is an experienced content producer for radio and television and has a weekly show on national radio.

Mmatsheko Mosito is the last voice to go on air at Radio 2000 from Mondays to Thursdays.  The Soweto born and raised mother of two children is the host of the popular “Essence of Rhythm” between 22h00 and 00h00.  She describes herself as an eclectic person.  “I’m an ambivert and find happiness in creative expression and nurturing my children”, she told Jazz It Out.  The show features memorable contemporary music from all over the African continent with special interest in Jazz, Soul, Traditional and World Music.

Mmatsheko Mosito. Picture by Katlego

She spent her entire childhood in Diepkloof, Soweto.  At the time, she never predicted a career in broadcasting.  However, her childhood was filled with a lot of creative ideas.  “My father was a keyboardist working with the African Jazz Pioneers.  Music was always part of my universe and I thought that would be my journey as well”, she said.  As a child, she played a few instruments such as piano, violin and marimba, with very little interest on the broadcast media.

At high school, she explored quite a bit with conscious Hip Hop, Jazz, RnB, Soul and a little bit of Pop Rock, which probably had to do with the fact that she was a township girl who went to a multiracial school in the Southern suburbs of Johannesburg and was exposed to a lot of different music styles.  Kwaito was quite a thing for children of her generation.  “We enjoyed everything from Boom Shaka, TKZee and Mdu Masilela”, she recalls. She also had a thing for female musicians Lauryn Hill, Jill Scott, Erykah Badu, Indie Arie, Angelique Kidjo, Tracey Chapman, Wendy Mseleku, Ella Fitzgerald and Sibongile Khumalo.

Mmatsheko listened to a little bit of YFM on her way to school where the late Khabzela was the voice behind the breakfast show.  “At home my grandmother would listen to the then Radio Setswana with all the exciting radio dramas in the afternoons and I’d catch that too”, she said.  When she was a 3rd year media studies student at college, YFM advertised a post for a content producer.  “I took my chances and got the job.  I learnt so much during my time at the youth station”, looking back to her early days in the broadcast media.  She developed a love for creative writing and thinking.

She also got first-hand experience about what it means to serve communities through broadcasting and how to use music as a tool for expression as she presented a music show at the station.  Mmatsheko has also worked as a television talk show content producer for Three Talk with Nielsen and Real Talk (both on channel previously known as SABC 3).  Her experience taught her that content and the skills required in radio like critical thinking, concept development, scriptwriting, researching are relevant for television as well.

She’s got the rhythm. Picture by Katlego Mosito

After a 3-year run at YFM, she moved to SABC Radio where she also worked as a content producer and radio show host on Radio 2000.  Her career highlights include hosting the weekday midmorning show and co-producing and hosting the weekday evening award nominated current affairs talk show “Talk on Radio 2000”.  What are some of the adjustments she had to make after jumping ship from YFM to Radio 2000? “The first thing was the playlist.  It was very different.  I went from a house, pop and kwaito environment to a full on adult contemporary music space”, adjusting to the change.

The playlist at her new radio station did however take Mmatsheko back to her childhood days.  “I always tell anyone who’s interested in knowing that Radio 2000 was a musical return to my waters.  All the music I was raised with, all the soundtracks to familiar time and space are all present.  I was meant to be there”, she explained.  Those who listen to the station will know that it has a slogan “Our Music Your Memories” which is precisely what is referring to.

Mmatsheko is currently the host of the late night “Essence of Rhythm” at Radio 2000.  For the first time in her entire broadcasting career, she was given full autonomy by the station’s management to serve the listener the best way she knew how.  “I think people deserve good quality music radio in this country which requires producers and presenters to apply a little bit of thought and thorough research to their radio product”, she asserted.  She describes her popular show as a “return home”, a space that interrogates what music means and teaches how to better interact with it.

She regards listeners of her show as her extended family members.  Her long-term objective is to always build a solid community of music lovers where they can freely express what the music means to them.  “I think I am here to share music that people need to hear and not necessarily to present anything.  The show is about the music and the people that it serves”, talking like a loyal servant of radio.  “Essence of Rhythm” that plays at the start of the show which explains the entire concept including its name and content.

A loyal servant of radio. Picture by Katlego Mosito

Her slot plays a fair amount of Jazz which is something very rare for a weekday slot.  In radio it is very important to present a very different product than some of the listeners may be accustomed to.  The medium allows for creativity as part of the content catered for target audiences.  Mmatsheko wanted to do away with the thinking that jazz is music for an elitist genre.  “There is a strong Soul, Jazz and Afro music sensibility in the sound of the show.  Research and intuition guide how I curate my playlists”, she said.

Loyal listeners of her show have created a Facebook group called “Essence of Rhythm with Tsheko Mosito” where they express their appreciation for the content delivers on the slot.  She is humbled and overwhelmed by the amount of support and appreciation.  “I am at my happiest when the people that I serve are happy.  Being on radio is not an act of self-indulgence for me but more of a space to serve and contribute meaningfully”, she confessed.  She is very adamant that despite so many innovations in the media industry, radio will remain relevant for years to come.  “Radio is not going anywhere anytime soon, especially not in this country”, she asserted.

She often plays a role of Master of Ceremonies (MC) and discussion facilitator on issues affecting youth and women, as well as growth and development of sectors that involve music.  This role has taught her that dialogue can be a good tool to change things for the better.  At one stage, she was a board member of a Non-Government Organisation (NGO) called Dignity Dreams which focuses on helping South Africa’s young girls and women to meet their personal hygiene requirements.  She believes the NGO has played a major role in assisting many communities to show more support to the young girls.

Mmatsheko was reluctant to mention her current favourite musicians.  “There are so many”, with a chuckle.  She has deep love for yoga and is interested in sound healing practices.  “I love to spend time in nature, attend live music events and play with my two young children”, she concluded.  Her Facebook account is Mmatsheko Mosito.  Join her Facebook group of fans called “Essence of Rhythm with Mosito”.  Follow her on Twitter @MmatshekoMosito @mmatshekomosito on Instagram, and connect with her on LinkedIn