Experience the rush of wakeboarding with Radio 2000’s Breakfast Show host, Bongani Mtolo and his family in Port Edward.

Award winning radio presenter, Bongani Mtolo is fast becoming a familiar voice on South African airwaves, now hosting the Breakfast Show on Radio 2000. This family man is husband to Zama Mtolo and father of two boys: Lwazi and Khwezi. The Insider SA joined the Mtolos at Umtamvuna River Lodge in KZN for a family wakeboarding experience.

Bongani shares his startup journey, saying, “I sold cars for nine years and I got to a point where I wanted something more out of life. I remember Zama telling me to rather follow my passion and try the whole radio thing.” Zama adds, “I encouraged him to send out a few demos and then eventually they gave him a call.”

“We struggled for a long time,” Bongani shares. “But the sacrifices have definitely been worth it. I think about all the late nights when I would sleep in the studio. Looking at experiences I can have with my family now definitely makes it all worth it.”

Starting at East Coast Radio, Bongani has gradually climbed the radio industry ladder. “Now, I’m hosting the Breakfast Show on Radio 2000,” he shares. “What I love most about the people who listen to the show is the fact that they’ve really warmed up to my honesty. In turn, they’ve really opened up about their lives as well. I think that the show is an outlet for them to have a voice.”

Balancing work and family life may be tough, but it’s his incredible wife, Zama, who keeps him grounded. As a successful business owner, Zama knows how to prioritise. Bongani explains, “Zama comes in to balance me. She constantly reminds me and makes notes in my diary, blocking out days so I can dedicate that time to the family.”

Their boys are their pride and job. For Bongani and Zama, they hope to pass a good example of love to their kids, along with the values of respect for others and discipline in work.

It’s Bongani’s life goal to teach Lwazi and Khwezi the wisdom he’s learnt from his own career: “Life is all about trying something, failing, getting back up, and trying again.” Bongani explains, “I want them to learn from me to try as many different things as possible and know that it’s okay to fail.”

The Mtolos enjoy some family time together on the banks of the Umtamvuna River in Port Edward at the Umtamvuna River Lodge. Here, the sub-tropical climate ensures warm weather and lush surroundings for a fun day out.

Umtamvuna River Lodge is run by former pro-wakeboarder and legend in the sport, Kevin Dry. After a successful stint in America as a professional wakeboarder, Kevin injured his knee, leading him back to the South African coast where he decided to open up a lodge.

While Umtamvuna River Lodge is known to others for their picturesque wedding location, it’s the river that keeps Kevin rooted here, providing ample opportunity for water sports galore.

Wakeboarding gained popularity in the 1960s as an alternative to surfing when the sea was calm. The sport relies on the wake of the boat to carve and launch into the air. Excited, Bongani gives it a go. “It’s a mixture of adrenaline and bit of fear,” he laughs.

Kevin first starts by dragging Bongani in the water with no board so that he can get a feel for the strong pull of the boat across the river. Slowly but surely, Bongani and the boys progress to being on the knee-board to experience a taste of wakeboarding. “I love that I can share these experiences with the kids as well,” says Bongani.

After the adrenaline high, the boys treat Zama to an activity they know she’d enjoy as well: a lazy cruise along the river. For Bongani, his greatest motivation is his family – the most important thing in his life. He shares, “I love where we are and where we’re headed as a family.”

To end off the day, Private Chef, Damian Honneysett prepares the Mtolos a three course, fine-dining experience. With shrimp timbales for the starter, fillet mignon flambéed in brandy for the main, and a passionfruit and red berry cheesecake for dessert, Zama has got some serious competition in the kitchen. But, Bongani admits, his favourite food will always be whatever Zama cooks.

Bongani shares his go-to piece of advice for defying the norm: simply, be yourself. He explains his counter-cultural ideas, saying, “Because of social media, most people don’t really know who they are. If you want to defy the norm, be yourself, be original, and stop trying to be someone else. You are enough.”

To hear more from Bongani Mtolo, catch him weekdays from 06:00 to 09:00 on the Breakfast Show on Radio 2000.