Suga

“One day I want to be a drummer in a band”, says Suga, “but I don’t think I’ll ever give up radio. I got into it by accident and have since then been very fortunate.” At just 21 she became the first female DJ to host a breakfast show on commercial radio. At the time she was also the only woman on prime time commercial radio nationally.

How she got into radio? On leaving school Suga enrolled at UCT to study for a BA, majoring in English and Economics at UCT, with the goal of going into law. She got involved with UCT Radio to prove the commonly held perception that women don’t belong in radio, wrong. During her time there, the station manager secretly entered her into a ‘DJ Talent Search’ competition. “The station manager sent in my demo, without telling me”, explains Suga, “I ended up winning the competition.” And the main prize – an audition at Good Hope FM.

By now the radio bug had bitten. “I had fallen in love with radio and being live on air!” A very excited Suga made her way to Good Hope FM to claim her prize. “The audition was a disaster – they actually told me afterwards that it was terrible,” blushes Suga, “But, after three weeks of waiting they phoned me to say that they felt there was something there and I landed the graveyard shift along with Irma G, which means we were on air between 2am and 6am every night.”

Just seven months later, she was given the 6pm to 10pm slot – not only was she one of the first female DJs ever to be on Good Hope FM but she was only 21 years old. Suga’s talent didn’t go unnoticed and she landed a major sponsorship for an hour of her daily show. “It was an amazing one hour slot, where I had the opportunity to invite female DJs into studio to play a set live on air – it was fantastic because one of my great loves in life is to actually mix music and play on the decks,” says Suga.

Today, Suga presents the lunchtime show on Good Hope FM between midday and 3pm. “I grew up listening to radio and music played an important role in my life. I believe the essence of being a DJ is the art of understanding music”, says Suga. Drumming is just another outlet for her to really get into the beat. She has played on African drums, as well as a proper drum kit and is hoping to do more drumming in the future. For now though Suga is concentrating on her radio career and holds a residency at Sutra in Long Street, where she is one of only two female DJs on the decks. “I love mixing music. It is called beat mixing – matching beat for beat.”

In August last year Suga made her television debut as a celebrity contestant on the Sanlam Money Game walking away with top honors beating two Johannesburg DJs in their hometown. In May of this year she was one of the DJ contestants on the Weakest Link. That gave her a taste of a medium she’d like to explore further.

“Radio is definitely my first love, but I’d like get into television, continue with my music and venture into designing my own clothing range as well.”