Zimbabwe News and Internet Radio

AUDIO: Axed presenter Robert Marawa tells SuperSport to ‘be honest with the people’

By Ashfak Mohamed | IOL |

Robert Marawa says that he can’t be “beholden to people because they dangle a certain carrot” following his axing from SuperSport on Thursday.

Robert Marawa on SuperSport
Robert Marawa on SuperSport

Marawa, 46, was interviewed by his Radio 2000 colleague Phat Joe on the ‘Phat Joe and The Family’ show on Friday morning, following his controversial removal from the pay channel.

He stated on Friday that he had been “half-dressed” already for his Thursday Night Live with Marawa show when he was informed by SuperSport that he should not come to the studio to do the programme that bears his name.

Instead, Thato Moeng anchored the show on her own.

SuperSport said in a short statement that they had already informed Marawa of their decision not to renew his contract “earlier in the week”.

“SuperSport is in the process of an exciting refresh of its local presenter line-up, which will be unveiled as part of our new football season campaign. This restructure includes us not pursuing our contractual relationship with Robert Marawa,” the channel said.

“Robert was personally advised of our decision earlier this week. We are grateful for his contribution over the years and wish him great success in his future endeavours.”

But Marawa questions that statement, adding that he had been told on Wednesday afternoon he could present his last show on Thursday.

That suddenly changed less than two hours before he had to go on air.

“Somebody sent me a tweet about what SuperSport said, that I was alerted earlier in the week. But tell me when earlier in the week is, because the only time we sat down to talk was Wednesday half-past-three, when the meeting was supposed to happen?” Marawa told Phat Joe on Friday.

“I went into work for Thursday Night Live, already half-dressed, and I was on the running order – I was due to be on the show last night. I am in the schedule to be doing Champions League on June 1.

“So, why lie to people? Remember, this is a pay-per-view organisation. People are paying for a product. I didn’t ask to be there – SuperSport asked me to join them when I did, that was straight after the Germany World Cup (in 2006).

“All it was that listen, your contract has lapsed at the end of April, and I am not going to renew your contract, because I have the powers as the CEO (Gideon Khobane) not to renew your contract.

“No reasons given. Sure, no problem. We have transgressed a couple of things legally. Sure, no problem. There were transgressions, and all that covers is, we are not renewing your contract, which is fine. I don’t have a right to a job.

“But when your magazine shows are rated, and verified as the top… You can’t move from that to ‘We just decided to refresh a couple of faces’.

“Be honest with the people.”

Marawa added that bosses who “don’t know the business” of broadcasting will always target presenters like him for being outspoken.

He also felt that, despite his heart attack last year, he would not change his mindset when it comes to being on air.

“We spoke about this when you were coming back into radio and you were seeking my advice – yourself, myself, people like DJ Fresh – is that every year, you will get targeted, Fresh will get targeted.

“Why was Fresh off air for the period that he was off air? People don’t know that. I will get targeted, because somebody somewhere – and remember that a lot of people who get employed to do the work, don’t know what broadcasting is. But they get given the titles…

“They don’t know the business, but if they can tell Joe to get out, they can go to a bar and tell their friends that they did something for broadcasting. So, that is what it’s about.

“I’ve walked into radio or television sets, and people don’t know what it is I’ve had to do. I’ve been threatened. I was in ICU in June, July last year.

“My sister was shattered because when she walked in, she saw a corpse, but people don’t know that because I don’t talk about it.

“The thing is, if my life had to end because of the passion for the job that I do, then so be it.

“So, if my journey ends before I reach 50, or whatever age, then so be it. I can’t be beholden to people because they dangle a certain carrot – ‘no, Robert can’t do these awards because he was questioning this and this on radio.’

“It’s okay, live your life the way you want to. But as a broadcaster, allow me the latitude to do what I do.”