Morris Mtisi Post Correspondent
Leonard Tsikira has a million other radio names when he is in the studio: Zkit aka Lampy, aka Chops The Ghost, aka Uptown baby, aka BaCurtis. He brings colour to radio and lights up a youthful trend many youngsters relate to in a big way in radio show biz.
Without Lampy on DiamondFM Radio an army of urban-groove trend-setters would be totally excluded from radio craze. Recently Morris Mtisi (MM) had the honour and privilege to interview the dreadlocked Chops-The-Ghost on the programme KNOW THEM BETTER and like all who were listening, also got to know the hilarious Leonard Tsikira(LT) better:
MM: History Lampy, who is Lampy aka all-that? Where does he come from?
LT: I was born in Chiredzi-Masvingo Province- 14 May 1985.
MM: Exactly Prudy Puru’s age? I‘m not suggesting anything! But a few weeks to your 34th birthday already. May just say Happy Birthday in advance!
LT: 14 May -85, proudly born-free! Yes Happy Birthday! Thank you.
MM: Born free! Lucky you! More of Lampy the young innocent boy!
LT: My mom worked in the Prisons Service. . . (Sounds like President’s Office)
MM: I thought I heard ‘President’s Office.’ I was going to ask you which President?
LT: (in stitches) No no no, Prison Services hence the globe-trotting. From Chiredzi to Gweru, from Gweru to Harare, back to Mutare. . . then Bulawayo. It was hectic. But I went to Mutare Junior School and Mutare Boys High…am a proud Shumba, where I played good Rugby and Basket Ball. I received medals and colours Mr Mtisi.
MM: You do not look athletic at all, but you reckon there were steel bones in that slim body?
LT: Very swift and agile.
MM: Is that all about the young innocent Leonard?
LT: Once attended Richmond High School in Nyazura. Lived in Bulawayo for nearly two years and finally did my Micro-Computer Technology in Harare.
MM: The dreadlocks Lampy — where did that come from? Any special inspiration, significance or are simply a fashion statement?
LT: Between Mutare and Bulawayo I started growing dreadlocks.
MM: Were you protesting? Being difficult? Any religious message being associated?
LT: I believe I’m a loving man. . . very peaceful. . . non-violent. You know I represent not being caught on the wrong side of the law. Never been behind bars! One love, One People! Rasta people have One Love.
MM: Are you suggesting MM does not have One Love? How many Loves do you think MM has?
LT: You have eight! (Throws both of us in stitches)
MM: Yes, more of who Lampy is. This program is KNOW THEM BETTER. Listeners want to know more about the dreadlocked guy on DiamondFM.
LT: I love Rasta people. That is me. I’m free and proud of whom I am.
MM: Do you carry that philosophy and person with you to radio Lampy?
LT: Indeed! I cannot call myself a Dj, a singer or a rapper. I’m none of that. I think I’m a voice artist.
MM: Break that down Lampy. What is a voice artist?
LT: There’s Lampy the cuddly. . . nice sort of guy. Then Zkitz-the wanna-be Super Star. . . then Chops –The-Ghost that does and enjoys just ANYTHING!
MM: There is also Ba Curtis?
LT: (Laughs heartily) Yes, Lampy…the father!
MM:. . .the responsible one?
LT: Yes, the one who is supposed to be responsible. And I guess that is the most challenging part.
MM: You are on night shifts all the time. . . well, almost, aren’t you? A night-rider sort of on radio! How much of a challenge is that Lampy? Does it not sometimes create challenges at home?
LT: I’m used to not sleeping at night. But they are getting used to it at home.
MM: You and I know radio is an enormously, almost terribly influential place to exist. How do you make sure you don’t use radio for the wrong reasons. . . may be using it for negative influence?
LT: In as much as I’m liberal, I try by all means to educate listeners, to send a positive vibe. . . I’m a happy people you know! I want listeners to be happy. At the end of my programme I want them to have changed. Somebody must change at the end of it all.
MM: Is it easy do you think to please everyone on radio?
LT: Not easy at all. But I try to listen to listeners’ opinions and views. . .I know people have different perceptions about life. And I respect that.
MM: Do we sometimes as radio presenters take listeners for granted?
LT: Yes we do. And that is wrong. When I’m on radio I know I’m talking to a father, a mother, a daughter. . . even a five year old. Respect every listener.
MM: What causes this arrogant big-headedness, naivety you think? Downright altered thought processes?
LT: Naivety is the word I’m sure. The arrogance and sheer simplicity of mind to think you can tell listeners to shout, shut up, sit, stand, jump, and they do it without asking. We ought to or must respect other people’s opinions. You are right most of them are thinkers, philosophers, critics. We can’t take them for granted.
MM: Sometimes when I listen to some presenters on radio, not DiamondFM necessarily, I hear irritating overtones of superciliousness. . . big-headedness. . . knowing-it-all airs and graces…is this what many mistake for being a celebrity? Not sure how to describe it! Something like a presenter sounds as if she or he is emptying a personal baggage. . . off-loading a heavy personal baggage on radio and on listeners. Do you get what I’m saying?
LT: Indeed, yes I do. There is a lot of that on radio. Say I leave home with an issue or two with Ma Curtis. . . and when I get to radio I play music to address that. . . woridza kambo kanoti ‘hehee ndoda kusvika kumba wasunga mbatya. . . turu turu tira-tira bla bla bla. We must not bring home issues onto radio. That’s not right.
MM: You listened to radio a lot in your teens Lampy? Who were your superstars on Radio?
LT: I loved PJ-Peter Jones and DJ Munya…Malimu! I knew Munya personally. These were great guys who dropped nu-hits! And I loved that!
MM: Finally Chops-The-Ghost, is it possible to be simply bad news on radio . . . an utter nuisance. . . a write-off that is good at only one thing: Putting every listener off!
LT: Don’t be arrogant on radio. Don’t be opinionated. Don’t be haughty, conceited. The listener has his or her space. Don’t be Miss, Mr or Mrs Know-it-all! Do that on radio and you are really bad news.
MM: …really off-beam, derailed! Lost! Bad news!
LT: You got it MM…Exactly!
MM: Where do you want to take radio Lampy?
LT: I like the life style on radio. I love different vibes. I love being an entertainer. I love good music. I like my shows different. I love changing lives as I do on Campus Connect. It’s humbling to know I have changed a life towards the right direction… helping students to understand why they are at university or college. My Saturday program The Hype is my favourite. It’s a party kind of hype and that defines me. Then of course I want to grow…to progress on radio. Then the money…we all work to enjoy mula, don’t we? Above all this, I want to see radio paving my way for de-televhishan-ting.
MM: Fantastic! I have thoroughly enjoyed talking to you Lampy… what a thrilling show? Awesome! Scintillating in all senses! Made me feel like a teeny-bopper! Enjoy the rest of the weekend and remember to be umm…a good boy!
LT: (chuckles) Oukay! (We both end the show in stitches! Great show!)