THE first day Bussai Mathebula went on air, she didn’t know if she was happy or just plain scared.

She was presenting the Sidithjile Midday Show on Ikwekwezi FM in 2005 when she had a period of silence.

“I had dead air, which is unacceptable on radio. I was so embarrassed,” she said.

“I was alone and nervous, but eager. My playlist made presenting easy.

“The show ended up being popular with listeners.”

Bussai said she learned from her mistake and it didn’t stop her from pursuing her dream.

She presents Ngimi Nawe – which means “it’s you and I” in Ndebele, from 9am until noon on weekdays.

“It means my listeners and I are on the same page,” said Bussai, who’s been presenting the show since 2006.

“We want the same thing. We go through the same challenges and it’s easy to lead the show.

“We all draw inspiration and knowledge from my guests.”

She said radio allows her to bring hope, and that’s why she touches so many people’s lives.

“I present in Ndebele, my mother tongue which I’m very fluent in. It allows me to express my views loudly and clearly,” said Bussai.

She was born on a farm in Middelburg in Mpumalanga, but 39-year-old Bussai grew up in Vezubuhle Village in KwaNdebele.

When she joined Ikwekwezi FM in 2005, she co-presented a midday show with Mbuzana Nyathi. This shining star of the airwaves realised radio made her feel alive.

“It’s my therapy. Once I’m behind the microphone, my problems fade away and I can express my views. I’ve always valued radio,” said Bussai.

After matric Bussai wanted to do chemical engineering, but didn’t qualify.

“I chose IT, but learned it was not for me. I did a course in office admin and communication, followed by a TV presenting course that led me into radio,” said Bussai, who’s also an entrepreneur.

She said an excellent radio personality is knowledgeable and respects their craft and listeners.

“This places you in a good emotional state of mind,” she said.