Monday, January 23, 2023

The voice of ‘Tonight on eee’ Bongani Njoli falls silent at 53.

by Thinus Ferreira

The voice-over artist and DJ Bongani Njoli, the often-ridiculed but unique and beloved voice of's programming promos died on Sunday night. Born Lala Ngoxolo Bongani Njoli on 7 September 1969, he was 53.

The former Good Hope FM and Magic 828 presenter became iconic for his gravelly-voiced promos, often starting with a raspy "Tooonight on eeeee", as well as " Thuuursday night is action night" wrestling and Friday Action Night movies - all with an imitation American accent he added to everything from Bruce Wills movies to upcoming Walker Texas Ranger episodes.

His peculiar voice-over inflection led to comedian Trevor Noah starting to imitate Bongani Njoli's announcements in some of his comedy shows, with audiences roaring with laughter about someone they'd never seen but all instantly knew the voice of. 

"South Africa is a peculiar country," Bongani Njoli told BBC Radio's Outlook show in a 2017 interview. "A whole lot of us are English speaking but you also get those differentiations, you know, where I as a black person have to do a black English voice as just opposed to some other person doing a voice. We normally come with black English that sounds exactly like me".

The qualified teacher with a Bachelor of Arts degree and a Diploma in Higher Education joined UCT Radio in 1990 during his student years and was the first black DJ on Good Hope FM in Cape Town where he joined in 1994 where he did an audition after he worked at Nampak.

After initially being rejected after auditioning for, he got a callback and then proceeded to do's TV promo voice-overs for 17 years for 2000.

Bongani was part of the team that launched Discom Vibes as a retail radio station for Clicks in 2004, where he was a presenter and music compiler until 2007 when he joined Cape Town's Heart 104.9FM doing two shows until 2009.

He joined Cape Town's Magic 828 in 2016. As a music producer, having worked on two SAMA-nominated albums in 2000 he started a music production company, Ebomvu Entertainment in 1999 with producer, Gabi le Roux.

The cause of his death is not immediately known.

"How many times can you watch Anaconda on a Friday night? Well, it depends on how Bongani Njoli can say 'This coming Friiiiday night on eeeee, Anaconda' and that's what got you to watch," Lester Kiewit of CapeTalk said on Monday morning.

About his voice, Bongani told the BBC that his voice helped to get him out of trouble and certain situations. "Once I got into trouble with the cops and one of the cops recognised my voice. 'Aren't you that guy who does 'Only on eee'? and said "I know you man, listen, go home and stop doing stupid stuff".

eMedia in response to a media query from TVwithThinus, on Monday afternoon said that the company will be making a contribution to Bongani Njoli’s funeral and that his death came as a shock to the family.

"Everyone at the family is deeply saddened by the sudden loss of Bongani Njoli."

"As the most recognisable voice of our Friday Action Night movie promos and weekend blockbusters, “Bongs” was a true legend and part of the e family for 17 years."

"His untimely passing comes as a shock, he was in studio with us in December 2022 for a new movie campaign. But unfortunately, as he was too weak to record, we put the campaign on hold."

"A part of our history is gone with his passing, but we will forever remember him as 'the voice' – our voice. Those of us who worked closely with him will sorely miss Bongani's easy-going, gentle manner and utter professionalism. We have reached out to the family, and will be making a contribution for the funeral."