Interviewing a couple is always a fascinating affair. Between the moments where each partner speaks about their career, are some adorable exchanges, inside jokes and moments of flirting that don’t go unnoticed by the interviewer! This was exactly the case when we sat down to interview South African radio’s favourite couple: DJ Sabby and Lindi Sirame.
The lovers have made great strides in their respective careers and this year, nearly a decade after they first worked together, they find themselves as lovers and colleagues once again. Lindi Sirame is a firm fixture on the afternoon show, The King’s Suite, while DJ Sabby is holding down the Metro FM Top 40 on Saturdays.
We asked about their latest radio adventures, working during the pandemic while still focusing on their growth as a couple and a family.
Lindi and Sabby: Radio’s power couple
I know 1000 people have probably already asked this question, how does it feel to not only be in a relationship, but also now to be colleagues working for the same station?
Lindi: I think it’s not too unfamiliar. 8 years ago, we worked together at YFM, which is actually where we met. So, we were both at YFM, Sabby was doing weekends, and I was reading the news on his show. And we happened to both move to weekdays in different ways, I had a feature on his slot and we interacted a lot. So, it’s familiar grounds I’d say.
DJ Sabby: If I may add, the major difference right now though is that she is my senior. Back in those days, as the person anchoring the show, but these days it’s Lindi who is holding it down every weekday, while I come in on weekends and round off the week. She’s the bread winner right now!
As part of 2021’s new look lineup, how do you feel about the way that the country has taken to you so far?
Lindi: I’m working from home, like a lot of my colleagues are. It’s quite tricky to say how everyone is feeling because we’re not always in the same space together. But I do think everyone is a lot calmer than before the new lineup announcement in April. There was a lot happening at the SABC at that time and we all just wanted to be part of this exciting Metro lineup! We’re all just grateful.
DJ Sabby: It’s been really cool, it’s just unfortunate that I’m on-air on the weekends! So I only get to see my colleagues once a week and in between that we speak on WhatsApp and text and all that. But from day one, from the moment I made the announcement, my colleagues have been super supportive and welcomed me like a brother.
Having worked in the same industry, how do you keep one another motivated in life and career?
DJ Sabby: Pushing one another to do better in our career comes naturally. We fully understand the dynamics that come with this work, and we also understand what we each bring to the table. For instance, Lindi has always been a remarkable journalist. Her research, news delivery, unbiasedness and so many other journalistic techniques always shone in our early days of working together.
Lindi: Whereas for me, I have largely benefited from Sabby’s ability to dream and execute big. He’s the kind of person who showed me that although you are currently good on a national scale, you can reach the top of your game at an international scale. Before that, my goal was let’s say the SABC but there was a trip where he took me to the BBC, and I got to experience the newsroom, where I saw that the ceiling of where I can get to is even higher than I had previously imagined.
How has the pandemic affected your careers on radio and your lives outside of it?
DJ Sabby: I think we were very fortunate to be in this position because of the monthly money that was guaranteed. A lot of side gigs went a bit quiet during the height of the pandemic. We know a lot of people who didn’t have radio shows, who lost voice over gigs etc. We were very fortunate to have a salary continuing to come in every month, because it could have been hectic.
Lindi: For me, the biggest knock was taken by my plans! I had made plans to make certain moves when I left Newzroom Africa and thought I’d be able to do some of them now that I had moved to Metro. A lot of the doors I was meant to knock on sadly couldn’t even think to have those conversations any more.
I’m a parent too and I know working from home is a whole new ball game! What have your family dynamics been like in the last year?
Lindi: We were in a very fortunate position last year that we were able to buy property. We bought a place that gives us enough space. Our son has his own play room where he can set up his toys and write on the walls and stuff. We have a room where we can conduct meetings if needs be. Now it’s better, but when we were moving and started working from home it was a bit difficult. When your child knows you’re around, they constantly want you and need you. Sometimes I’d be doing the news and outside he’d be crying and screaming in the background! On live radio!
DJ Sabby: But jokes aside, we are very fortunate. A lot of South Africans don’t have the space and resources we do to work from home.
Have there been any new opportunities that have come up as a result of Covid?
DJ Sabby: Funnily we’ve been having so many conversations about exactly this. It began with our first investment which was us buying the house. The pandemic showed us that our industry is an essential service, but it’s very hard to monetise when certain doors close during lockdown.
Lindi: We want wealth guys! Moziak readers take note, we want wealth. This thing of needing to rely on media houses for our wellbeing proved to be very risky when things hit the fan. So, with that in mind, we are more focused on reaching a stage of financial independence, where we don’t need to rely on anybody in order to sustain our families.
I know you’re both big on hosting workshops and educating the youth on how they can break in and grow in the industry. Is that something you’ve begun to do virtually?
Lindi: The pandemic actually helped me in this regard. Usually, I would host interviews with people in my field and ask them to give tips to my community. Then when everything turned online and we started hosting Instagram Lives, suddenly the amount of people this advice was able to reach was much higher. So the IG Live format amplified these interviews and encouraged me to help even more people. Sometimes I will get DMs from young followers thanking me for bringing someone they look up to, or sharing some notable advice, on my Live sessions so I am very proud and pleased with that side of things.
DJ Sabby: On my side it’s similar. Since we were all at home, it gave us a platform to engage with our audience and made us accessible to the young guns who want to grow in this industry. I always say that when I was growing up, we looked up to the likes of DJ Fresh, your Poppy Ntshongwanas, Glen Lewis etc. These guys are legends, but they were all very hard to get a hold of at the time (there was no social media!). But now, young people who want to emulate our progress have a platform to ask us questions, to learn from our challenges and to gain wisdom. So yeah I agree with Lindi, it’s been a positive.
Before we wrap up, do you have a special message for Moziak Readers, Metro FM listeners and anybody who looks up to you?
Lindi: I just want to say thank you to people who have followed my career over the last 10/11 years. It feels great to know that people have allowed me into their homes and they believe in me as a voice of authority. Robert Marawa started calling me the Rolls Royce of Broadcasting in South Africa and now people refer to me that way! Thank you to everyone who listened and supported.
I want to do a lot more of the work that is closer to my heart in the coming year. I have a passion project coming up, it will be a series on GBV and basically I will be interviewing women who share their stories of living through abusive relationships. It won’t have anything to do with the perpetrator, it will be focused on the woman who survived. It’s an issue that is close to my heart and in the next year I will be doing more of that, more passion projects to touch people’s lives.
DJ Sabby: This is always hard! We have these big plans and big things that we’d like to do in 2021 but Covid has reminded us to take these things as they come and take it day by day. And that’s my approach! I’ve learned to slow down and take things one by one because we don’t know what tomorrow holds.
I’m also keen to push this radio show and making it the best thing ever. I’ve got music coming up later this year, I’m getting back to television, we’ve got our business plans. There’s so much I’m working on, Lindi even gets exhausted when I give her updates [Lindi chimes in: I always say to him, his energy can consume you because he is busy!]
DJ Sabby continues: But I’m just a believer in making the most of my time. Now I’m working on weekends, I’ve got a lot of time in the week to just do MORE. Just know there’s so much coming your way.