621 SABC employees – among them Sagren Naidoo, Tansen Nepaul and Deon Chetty – left the SABC for the last time on Wednesday, 31 March. This number was made up 346 employees who had opted for voluntary severance packages, while 275 people were in positions that had been made redundant. As we reported, it was the end of a long and combative Section 189 retrenchment process. Some of these lights were from Lotus FM, the dedicated Indian radio station.
As reported by Sunday Tribune, veteran Sagren Naidoo, with 32 years experience said he didn’t realise the impact he had made until he received calls this week from listeners.
“I was doing what I loved best as a music compiler, religious producer and working with broadcasters covering a full spectrum of radio. I worked with some of the stalwarts of radio like BK Chinnah, Sergie Naidoo and Amitha Anand. It’s been a wonderful journey and lots of wonderful memories. It has been a rich experience.
“I have been blessed to have been able in my small way give something back to our culture, religion and music,” said Naidoo.
Some other names let go from Lotus FM;s legendary line-up include Tansen Nepaul, Deon Chetty, Suresh Harilal, and Byron David, We include Nepaul and Chetty’s statements after leaving under Section 189below:
Hi colleagues, it is indeed an emotional week as I bid farewell to an organisation that I served for the last 32 years. I started in 1989 as a Junior Production Assistant, packaging program material for our regions radio stations. They were: Radio Lotus (now Lotus FM), Radio Zulu (now Ukhozi FM), Radio South Africa (now SAFM) and Radio Port Natal (now East Coast Radio).
The S.A.B.C in those days recognised and rewarded its employees in a systematic and efficient way with appropriate training. Therefore in a short space of six years, I moved from Junior to Senior, Principle then Specialist. I was motivated by my passion for audio recording. Audio recordings for me was not a job but a life style. The highlight for me at that time was being the first Indian to receive the S.A.B.C Arties award for music production.I then moved to Radio Lotus as Music Producer. Under the management of Fakhir Hassen, I managed to raise the S.A Indian music content from 2 to 16% which was not an easy feat as it required long hours and late nights.
To date, I may have recorded more than 2000 songs with various artists and would have composed original music for more than 300 of these. In the 90’s I also produced music for many S.A.B.C Television programs. I went on to become Programs Executive and then acting station manager at Lotus FM for a year. I then moved back to the operations department were I remained until now.I will always be grateful to the organisation for all that I have learnt in terms of Music Technology, S.A culture and management skills. My work took me to different communities and I experienced their various cultures, lifestyles and music. This helped me to grow, understand and appreciate the South African rainbow nation in all its beauty. I used every opportunity to learn as much as I could about everything broadcast related and was identified by the training and development department as the most versatile employee at the SABC in all the regions. In 2018 L&D asked me to conduct workshops to young students in four of our provinces on technical subjects that covered everything from analogue to digital technology.I was in my element whilst working in the M1 music studio’s and this was a place that saw the emergence of many talented artists.
I grew to love and understand all genres of Indian music, Western Classical, Maskandi, Isicathamiya and Zulu choral music. I remain one of a handful of music engineers that specialise in the recording of a philharmonic orchestra.I also loved handling all matters related to transmission and reception as well as monitored the quality of our radio broadcasts.I believe that the S.A.B.C had utilised my talents in an appropriate way that benefited the greater community.I thank all that made my career at the S.A.B.C a fruitful and enjoyable one. There are too many names to mention, however a few stand out for every significant progress in my career. T
hey are Ramu Gopidayal, Driaan Engelbreght, Kieth Millar, Patrick Buthelezi, Fakhir Hassen, Rev Howu Mbatha, Sam Makhwanazi, Welcome Bhodloza Nzimande, Khalik Sheriff, Sipho Mkhize and Dhanraj Adjodapersadh. My colleagues at S.A.B.C Kzn have been my second family and in my 32 years of service, I have never had a disagreement with any one of them. I will miss you all.I wish the S.A.B.C well in all its future endeavours.
Tomorrow, the 31st of March 2021. After 16 years, it will be my final day when I sign off for the last time at the SABC. What a tremendous ride it has been for me. I still remember the 1st day when I entered through the doors of the SABC and I was taken into a studio to record voice overs for a Station. I looked around me and said to myself “WOW”. That was the moment when I knew this is the place.
From doing voice overs, I was the thought how to edit the voices on a computer which was really difficult for me at the time but I kept on learning. A few months after, I was offered a show on Lotus FM as well as being the stations imaging and technical person. I then was discovered by RBF (Radio Broadcast facilities) for a full time position to record and edit Radio Drama. I am so grateful to my Managers and the SABC for sending me on courses all the time to master my techniques on software and hardware. Over the years, lots of memories have been created on and off premises with special people within the organization.
My biggest achievement’s were winning the Technology Awards in 2017 and till date, holding the title as No.1, Taking Lotus FM Drama to another level with my own technique of recording. I also want to thank Lotus FM for giving me the opportunity for gracing the airways and spreading the energy to all the listeners out there. That was so much of fun and also for giving me the opportunity to open for Michael Bolton and letting me travel all the time. RBF has made me meet so many new friends all the time when I was asked to set up Dj’s from various radio stations when they came down to Durban and that has been so amazing for me as well. Sometimes we went way beyond as to what we did and always succeeded because we always helped each other.
As the years went on, I started training people and giving many opportunities for their future and I am so proud of every individual. There are too many people to thank and mention but my colleagues that worked with me at RBF, you guys are so special to me. I will truly miss u guys and remember every moment of the times we spent together working either at OB’s or in studio. Late nights and early mornings have definitely paid off. Thank you for always teaching me. To all my managers, thank you for always believing in me through thick and thin . We will always be the No.1 team and I wish each one of you all the best and remember, it’s now time to breathe.
Thank you from the bottom of my heart for all the love and support from everyone.It’s a new chapter now in our lives, so let’s be positive and let’s make it work….Peace & LoveDeon Chetty
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