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The winner of the 2014 @City_Press Tafelburg Nonfiction Award is Vashthi Nepaul! #openbook2014 @OpenBookFest fb.me/3fYW6ZeJ3

Khanyi Magubane in the SAfm Lit Hot Seat?

Khanyi MagubaneIt would seem that Khanyi Magubane has been assigned to the literary hot seat at SAfm: she was on air from 1-4pm yesterday – a new voice in the “SAfm Literature” slot for the first time in well over a year. (As regular listeners will know, Victor Dlamini never missed a show during his tenure – a remarkable run.)

Magubane is the presenter of the station’s gospel hour, “Living Sounds”, which airs between 6 and 7pm on Sundays. On the SAfm website – which now resembles an e-junk yard, thanks to an off-putting redesign (note to webmaster: look at your site in Firefox) – she’s described as a “young but experienced journalist, writer and poet… [who] loves art cinema, is crazy about theatre, books, a chilled glass of crisp white wine and deep conversations with friends over a good meal.”

Unfortunately, she made something of a meal of her first show. While one wants to be charitable, I confess to cringing at regular intervals after tuning in – especially during the first half hour, when Magubane had Ronald Suresh Roberts as her guest.

It has to be ceded to Roberts – no matter what opinion one holds of him – that he is an astute conversationalist with an uncommonly large intellectual arsenal. He makes for the sort of interview, in other words, that a seasoned broadcaster might relish for its potential cut and thrust, but that a novice will more likely just make room for. And so it was that Magubane played the part of a dam operator during a deluge: the floodgates opened, and Roberts had untrammelled access to the airwaves for a good twenty-five minutes.

Note to Magubane: Gumede’s book is Thabo Mbeki and the Battle for the Soul of the ANC (my underlining; her repeated elision, plus many other mistakes besides). And please don’t hum – “mmmmmmmmmmm” – while authors are speaking.

BOOK SA wishes Magubane luck in her new slot, if she turns out to be SAfm’s final choice for the show. With time, and some effort in the “broadcasting rigour” department, she might crack it.