Wednesday, 29 April 2020


VETERAN broadcaster Peter Johns who died in the United Kingdom on Monday has been mourned by peers and Zimbabweans with many saying the nation had lost the finest broadcaster that the country has ever produced.

Johns, 60, died at a hospital in London after battling three strokes and a heart operation.

Affectionately known as “PJ Your DJ” or “The Radio Driver”, Peter Johns hosted the Midday Jam, Monday Mellow Madness, UK Top 40 and Hit-Pick on Radio 3 (now Power FM). He left the station in 2002.

On television, he was popular for the show Coke on the Beat that he presented with Patricia Mabviko. 

PJ influenced people like Bulawayo socialite Johny Njobvu who is now based in Zambia, to enjoy their adolescent years and their early 2000s in Bulawayo.
Njobvu said he was pained by PJ’s death.

“I’m literally hurt because that guy really made my teenage years and 2000s rock. He was in a class of his own. Even his radio shows, people would wait for them as he knew his crowd and how to keep us moving in the club,” said Njobvu.

He said he remembered PJ’s shows at Visions Night Club like it was yesterday.

“Back then, Visions had a schedule and they had a bunch of DJs, but you’d know PJ used to come every month-end. I’d go to Visions to see PJ every month-end. 

“There were other DJs such as Davies Mugadza and Tich Mataz, but the atmosphere when PJ would come, you’d know. It’s like he wasn’t a Zimbabwean artiste. It felt as if it was Oskido coming to Bulawayo and I’d wish that he’d come every weekend.”

Veteran DJ Joe tha OG who used to warm the decks for PJ at Visions Night Club described the late DJ as a warm and professional person.

“PJ as a DJ was dope. He knew how to entertain and knew his stuff in terms of fresh music. PJ had a huge following in Bulawayo and he used to come to Visions almost every month-end.

“You’d know that the club will be packed with all races. Most of us young DJs then, used to look up to him. I personally used to listen to his radio shows almost daily,” said Joe tha OG.

While mourning PJ, DJ Fresh from South Africa retrieved a Tweet he posted in 2017 showing how PJ influenced him.

“I am so sad to hear of the passing of Peter Johns!! Condolences to all the Zim and SADC #RadioHeads he created!!!” 

The 2017 Tweet by DJ Fresh read: “A trip to Zimbabwe in 1989/90 changed my life and made me even more resolute that it was #RadioOrDie! Guys like #TheHitman #PeterJohns #TichMataz on #Radio3 made it seem so easy!! Y’all were Radio Gawds, and I salute you for the inspiration!!”

Patience Musa, a presenter on ZiFM Stereo tweeted: “I will always remember the Monday Mellow Madness hour . . . you will always be remembered . . . RIP Radio Driver.”

MisRed, another presenter from the same station tweeted: “He made radio so much cooler for people like me to want to pursue it! Thank you for setting the bar so high on purist radio practices . . . you were beyond your time! The ‘Radio Driver’ #RIPPeterJohns.”

Buttler Nhepure of ZBC’s Classic 263 described PJ’s character and influence on and off air with this tweet.

“If it wasn’t the voice, it was the jingle, if it wasn’t the jingle, it was the music, if it wasn’t the music, it was the enigmatic mystery of his life, we all yearned for a little part of Peter Johns. I am very sad. #RIPPeterJohns.” Chronicle


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