On Air Personalities


On Air Personalities

Esona Funeka

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Show(s): Apha naPhaya

News Anchor

As we are celebrating 60 years of Umhlobo Wenene FM get to know me, Esona Funeka better

1.    Define Esona to us

My name is Esona Funeka. I was born and bred in East London. I am the second of three children (my twin sister and younger brother). I am the host of Umhlobo Wenene’s evening Current Affairs show, Apha Naphaya.


2.    Who inspired you to love radio and why?

I fell in love with radio when I was still studying towards my National Diploma in Journalism at the now Nelson Mandela University, where I majored in radio and television broadcast. As part of our practical studies, we had to develop our own radio shows with our own unique content. I also had the opportunity to be part of Madibaz Radio during that time, where I was the afternoon-drive show English and isiXhosa newsreader. I had the opportunity to meet seasoned radio personality Lulu Haarmans and her producer Khayakazi Koto who further ignited my love for radio. I later moved on to join community radio station Bay FM, as a weekend breakfast co-host as well as newsreader before I was given the opportunity to be part of this prestigious national radio station.


3.    What does radio mean to you and what drives you to do what you do?

To me radio means the opportunity to share information and knowledge on issues that speak directly to and affect our people. It is not only a platform to entertain and engage, but very importantly, to empower our people/ audience. After all, knowledge is power. 


4.    If you were not on radio, what would you be doing?

Before joining Umhlobo Wenene I was involved with the Eastern Cape Community television station Bay TV, where I had the opportunity to explore in-depth the field of Journalism. I was working as a news anchor, reporter, video editor, producer, camera operator and voice over artist all at the same time! That is when I decided that I did not want to be limited in terms of what my skills are as a journalist. If not on radio, I would’ve been doing something else in the field of journalism.


5.    What would you like people to remember about you?

I worked hard to get to where I am, I wasn’t simply handed opportunities in life. Also I am a firm believer that if it is meant to be yours, nothing can stand in the way of you getting it. I am a passionate hard worker who thrives when challenged.


6.    State 5 facts that we don’t know about you

·         I am a believer in Christ.

·         I am a surprise child! My parents didn’t know they were having twins, even the doctors didn’t see me coming until everyone got the shock of their lives on the 15th of November at 11h54.

·         I don’t like being alone (maybe it’s because I have never been alone, not even in the womb!)

·         I absolutely love to sing! And I hate it when people cannot harmonize because I can sing in Soprano, Alto and Tenor.

·         I hate cleaning. BUT I’ll cook and I’ll wash the dishes.


7.    What’s your favorite ’90s song that you still listen to?

Without a doubt, Vicky Sampson’s Afrikan Dream!


8.    What is the best gift you've ever received?

Hope. Faith. Love.


9.    What are your social media handles?

I had to think twice about this one. Lol, I’m not big on social media, BUT I’m working on it! It’s Esona Funeka on Facebook and _esodi on Instagram


10. What role has Umhlobo Wenene FM played in your life?

First and most importantly UWFM has given me a job in this time of job scarcity and a high unemployment rate. I’m truly grateful. The station has also given me a voice and a platform to showcase my talent, and to do my bit in helping to uplift my community.


11. Umhlobo Wenene FM turns 60 years this year: what does being part of this massive and successful brand mean to you?

It is certainly a privilege to be part of this brand, and to know that I have also contributed - in whatever small way - to the success of this station. I am proud to be associated with Umhlobo Wenene!


12. Give us 5 of your clan name?

MaTshezi omhle, uMaTenza, uSaliwa, uMkhabela, uCetshane, uMkhont’obomvu! 


13. What is your favourite traditional meal?

Umngqusho! Ndiwubawela ngoku.



14. Last but not least : give us a message for your listeners

Enkosi kakhulu ngothando nenkxaso eniyi nika esi sikhululo. Please keep supporting Umhlobo Wenene FM because we do this for you; to keep you updated, empowered and entertained. And we are nothing without you!

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