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Out with the old, in with the new has never been this underwhelming. Beloved presenter Anele Mdoda has left the Real Talk seat and now veteran radio host and businesswoman Azania Mosaka takes over as host. Before Anele we had Noeleen Maholwana-Sangqu gracing our screens, back then the show was still called 3Talk.
When Real Talk’s producers paired Azania with Bonang Matheba, one of South Africa’s biggest celebrities, it looked like Azania’s season would start with a bang. But, after Bonang took over and spent the first 10 minutes of the show interviewing the interviewer, Azania, it got more than a little confusing.
Bonang’s presence brought great anticipation on social media with many people who like the queen but have no interest in Real Talk tuning in. It was trending number one on Twitter ahead of the show’s airing. Unfortunately, the interview dashed expectations, revealing nothing new about Bonang.
There was so much Azania could have asked, but didn’t.
For example, Queen B has just broken up with rapper boyfriend AKA and was seen sharing details about the break up on her reality TV show.
Why did Bonang decide to do that? Bonang had also been seen a lot with her seemingly new bestie, TV personality Lorna Maseko. Which other women in the industry does Bonang consider to be friends?
These and many other questions around her career – including her decision to leave Afternoon Express and her travels to Nigeria – were not addressed. It was a missed opportunity and Black Twitter didn’t fail to point it out.
The only spicy part of the interview was when Azania asked B what she thought about DJ Zinhle, Bonang’s former friend and the mother of AKA’s child, who was due to appear on Real Talk the next day.
“I think about a lot of things,” is all Bonang would say. Later, Azania told TshisaLIVE she didn’t probe B because she “didn’t want the show to be a gossip show”.
When DJ Zinhle appeared on the show the day following Bonang’s non-interview, we didn’t get a lot more details about her break-up with AKA and the birth of their baby, Kairo. We were not exposed to the many sides of Zinhle, including her business, and her choice in friends and in men. Zinhle became much more to viewers than just the mother of AKA’s child and the rapper’s ex, but, I would argue, viewers wanted Azania to delve even deeper. The first 15 minutes interviewing Zinhle were spent on Kairo. Now, I love Kairo (she’s the people’s baby), but 15 minutes of the show?
The rest of the interview was spent discussing Zinhle’s new book and tiptoeing around the idea of forgiveness with indirect and vague questions that just left me asking more. Why was forgiveness an important factor in Zinhle’s identity? Who was she to forgive or ask forgiveness from? This frustrated me, because we all somehow knew what was being alluded to, but can’t Azania be more direct? Isn’t that her job as an interviewer?
The show led viewers to believe that Real Talk’s new host would be able to rise to the task of interviewing the controversial celebrities we all want to hear more from. But it turns out that promise was little more than a teaser, and instead Azania spent an inordinate amount of time complimenting her guests and discussing just how wonderful they were.
Recently Azania had tough guy Robert Marawa on Real Talk, and he proved to be a reluctant interviewee, often responding to her questions with: “You know I won’t tell.” Instead of pushing Marawa for answers, Azania accepted his evasive responses and again left me wanting for scintillating answers from the guests appearing on the show. If Azania isn’t going to probe guests or be direct with her questions, then what is Real Talk really doing?
Last week Friday’s interview was a game-changer though, and my favourite interview of them all so far. Veteran kwaito star Mshoza appeared on the show, and Azania provided an empowering and safe space for her guest. Mshoza’s passion and uncompromising advocacy for women was front and centre and Azania asked more direct and detailed questions than she had of her other guests.
While she has had a rocky start, maybe Azania is working up to a different tone and culture on Real Talk than that created by her predecessor.
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