By Nomali Cele
This past week was a big one for Unathi Nkayi. The seasoned broadcaster made her return to radio with flair as the host of Midday Joy with Unathi, the 12 to 3 PM show on Kaya 959. Her first day on the Kaya 959 airwaves was a busy one.
— Kaya 959 95.9 (@kayafm95dot9) March 2, 2020
At the end of the whirlwind week, Unathi was a guest on “Today with John Perlman” for “A Song, A Book and A Dish.” In her conversation with colleague, John Perlman, Unathi unpacked the parts of her life that have shaped her. “I have always been affirmed, I have always been validated,” Unathi said speaking about her parents and how they raised her.
Much of her childhood was spent outside of South Africa, moving to Namibia as a six-month-old and then going on to the UK soon after. Her family returned to South Africa in 1989. Unathi told John Perlman that her foreignness, both outside the country and back in it, taught her to enjoy her own company and solitude.
On how her first week was, Unathi said “overwhelming.”
Her wish for her children is that they become the best versions of themselves. Her wish for South Africa is that we stop being afraid of each other’s differences. Her wish for herself is to be able to love again.
For her pick of song, she said she wanted to share what her solitude sounds like. Canzoni Stonate by Andrea Bocelli and Stevie Wonder is her most favourite song in the world.
“I was out of control and I was out of my league,” Unathi said of her early singing career stating she only recently started believing that she is a musician.
Unathi’s favourite book is “The Alchemist” by Paulo Coelho about which she said: “It ignites a belief in oneself that everyone needs. It makes the daunting task of pursuing your dreams more magical. When I read that book, it changed my life; I started being fearless about what I wanted to be in society,”
Her favourite dish is jollof rice.
Listen to the full conversation below