On Friday, 15 January 2020, South Africans woke up to the sad news of the death of former Ukhozi FM announcer and station manager Dr Welcome “Bhodloza” Nzimande. It is reported that Nzimande died in the early hours of the day at a Durban hospital from a covid-19 related illness. He was 73.
Bhodloza worked for Ukhozi FM for 32 years. He joined the station as an announcer in 1978. In 1997 he was appointed station manager, a position he held for 13 years until he retired in 2010. Under his leadership, the station’s listenership grew from 3.7 million to 6.7 million.
Some people regard Nzimande as the father of traditional music for promoting it throughout his career, particularly on his show Sigiya Ngengoma and also on SABC 1’s Ezodumo.
In 1987, Nzimande co-founded the South African Traditional Music Association (SATMA) with the late Prof Joseph Shabalala of Ladysmith Black Mambazo. This culminated in the formation of the SATMA awards in 2005.
In 2018 Nzimande was awarded an honorary PhD in Visual and Performing Arts by the Durban University of Technology “for his contribution to the arts and creative industries in South Africa”.
Among other things, Nzimande was known for his sense of humour. When he was invited to Ukhozi FM after receiving his PhD and DJ Sgqemeza addressed him as ‘Doc’, he joked that he preferred ‘Doctor’ to avoid confusion with ‘dog’.
Nzimande was born at Phatheni in Richmond, KwaZulu-Natal. He qualified as a teacher at Ndaleni College of Education before joining Ukhozi FM. Later he earned a Bachelor of Business Administration from Unisa and a Leadership Development Certificate from the University of Pretoria.
After retiring from the SABC, Bhodloza held several leadership roles in different organizations. He also served as chairman of the UIF Board from 2013 until the time of his death.