News Release

Mo G: Meet the Man behind the Mic

Mpho Madise, aka “Mo G”, is best recognised as Kaya FM’s weekend DJ, filling the airwaves with his soulful voice between 10 am and 2 pm on Saturdays and Sundays. On Saturdays, he hosts the popular Kaya FM Top 40, and on Sundays listeners ease into the day with the best “old school” requests and Mo G’s soulful mix of favourite local and international tracks. But there is more to this man behind the mic…

He wanted to become an astronaut when he was a boy. “But this changed when I was 15, after I met Tich Mataz from 5FM for the first time. Tich allowed me to sit in-studio with him at 5FM and has become my life-long mentor. It was during this special time with Tich that I discovered my passion for radio,” says Mo. “Being an avid fan of listening to the radio, I was fascinated to learn how it all worked behind the scenes. I would sit for hours just watching Tich behind the mic and then go home and record myself on my small portable radio – practicing to be a radio DJ. Even my high school yearbook caption read: ‘One day I want to be a 5FM radio DJ’.”

Mo realised his dream of becoming a radio DJ shortly after matriculating in 1999 when he joined 5FM as a junior DJ. His 11-year career on air spans a variety of radio stations, including Highveld Stereo and Radio 2000, as well as Kaya FM.

Radio did not only make his dreams come true, it also gave him the catchy name Mo G and provided a home he could settle into happily. “Mo is short for Mpho, a nickname I was given by my grade four teacher who couldn’t pronounce my full name!” he explains. Mo was then dubbed “Mo-G” by Anthony Duke, who insisted that he had to have a double barrel DJ name for his work on 5FM. Mpho means “gift” and so the “G” was added to Mo, and voila, Mo G was born!

“Kaya” means “home” in Zulu, and that is exactly what Mo G has found there – a home. “I have moved away from my previous history of ‘bad boy partying’ to settle down with the most beautiful wife, son, and great job at Kaya FM – which has greatly changed my viewpoint on life. Instead of taking from the world, I am now giving back. It’s an inspiring and welcoming change to our lives.”

His DJ style is natural and real. “I’m very authentic on air, my listeners always know how I’m feeling – especially if it involves a Chiefs game!” he says. Mo’s repertoire of interviews includes Prime Circle, The Parlotones, Lucky Dube, and the Manhattans whom he interviewed live from New York City. If he could interview anyone on his show, it would be a toss-up between his role model Ryan Seacrest and Oprah Winfrey. “They are both such phenomenal, inspiring people who have come from humble backgrounds and built huge media empires for themselves.”

Although he plays a lot of R&B and Soul on Kaya, he’s also a big hip-hop fan. “I also listen to a great deal of local South African music, my favourite musician being Lira – her music is soulful and inspiring.” In fact, Mo is such a big fan that he asked Lira to perform at his wedding when he married his wife in December 2010. “It was a big surprise for all the guests and a very special moment for me and Di,” he comments affectionately. Mo proposed by taking his fiancé for a surprise visit to Browns of Rivonia, where he had reserved a private table and arranged for hundreds of red roses to be delivered, showing his  surprisingly romantic side. 

Chatting about his first official days on radio he recalls one early morning (he started on the 1am – 4am slot on 5FM) when he left the studio during a track to go to the men’s room and forgot his access card inside. “It was dead air for about 20 minutes while I frantically tried to get back in,” he chuckles in reminiscence – although it wasn’t so funny back then!

Outside of the studio his hobbies include ten pin bowling and socialising with friends at the trendiest hotspots around Johannesburg. Born and raised in Jozi, Mo loves the buzz of the city. He says he can’t leave the house without his Blackberry and he loves to splurge on good quality dining. But he is also enthusiastic cook and enjoys spending time with his wife and son in the kitchen. “My favourite dish to make is spaghetti bolognaise,” he says proudly. He watches a plentiful amount of sport and news so that he is always up-to-date on current affairs, and the newest addition to the family- a fox terrier puppy named Rex- is keeping them all more than busy!

Plans for the future include travelling with his wife before extending their family together. “I really want to take Di to see London – my favourite international city- and we plan to go to Brazil for the Soccer World Cup in 2014.” Hong Kong and the Seychelles are also on his “must-see” list. In terms of business, Mo is also currently expanding his career as a producer and is working on a music chart show for SABC 1 with Jake Productions (Jessica Motaung and Ken Simmons).

To the youth in South Africa, Mo emphasises that education is key. “I have done some things in my past which I regret – and one of them is not applying myself better at school. You can never get that time back, so use it wisely. It takes determination, perseverance, integrity and authenticity to make it as a successful businessman in South Africa – or anywhere in the world really,” he advises, “and getting a good education is an important part of that.”

Mo tells that while he was never musical at school, he would have loved to learn to play the piano. “Instead I was out on the sports field playing any sport the coaches would let me play!” Nevertheless, it gave him one of the highlights of his life: travelling with Sandown High’s first team rugby to Australia and New Zealand in 1999. 

As part of his drive to encourage learning among the youth, Mo G is giving time to share his skills with aspiring DJs at “On-Q”- a school focusing on the development of local media talent. He is also partnering with SANCA to help create awareness of drug and alcohol abuse among young people.

“It’s not about money. I’m inspired in life by simply doing what I love, and that is being on radio!” he says. 

Be inspired, too, by catching Mo G on Kaya 95.9 FM every Saturday and Sunday 10am-2pm or find him on facebook – Mo G Madise – for daily updates!

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