South African kwaito musician Mduduzi ‘Mandoza’ Tshabalala has died.
His family has confirmed that he lost his battle to cancer on 18th september , about a year after he had been diagnosed with a brain tumor.
He was admitted to hospital a week ago, with his family later confirming that he was home and in a stable condition.
Mandoza was born in 1978 in the Zola South section of Soweto, where he shared a house with his mother, his grandparents and two sisters. He never knew his father, his mother claiming that he was murdered the same year Mandoza was born. When he was sixteen years old he was charged with stealing a car and received a one-and-a-half year sentence, which he served in Diepkloof prison.
When he was released from prison, Mandoza formed the group Chiskop along with three childhood friends, S’bu, Siphiwe and Sizwe.
His talents were discovered by Arthur Mafokate, also known as the King of Kwaito.
He was first played on air by DJ Sipho Mbatha, known as Sgqemeza, of Durban Youth Radio now joined Ukhozi FM.
Mandoza strives to give an inspirational message to Kwaito. Mandoza uses his music as a way to encourage young South Africans to achieve their goals. His song, Uzoyithola Kanjani, means “how are you going to get it, if you don’t get up and go for it.” He credits much of his success to his mentor, Glenn Morris, who helped him during his drug addled early years.
The group signed its first record contract eight years after its formation and released their debut album, Akusheshi, later followed by Relax.
Although Chiskop achieved great success and was widely seen to be at kwaito’s forefront, Mandoza also started a solo career; in 1999 he released the top-selling (more than 100,000 units sold) album 9II5 Zola South, for which he gained a 2000 FNB South African Music Awards Best Newcomer nomination.
He released the album Nkalakatha in 2000, produced by Gabi Le Roux, which won multi-platinum status. The title track became a crossover hit and reached the top of the charts on both traditionally black and white radio stations. This album won the Best Kwaito Music Album category and the album’s title track won the Song Of The Year category at the South African Music Awards in 2001. Mandoza also won in five of the ten categories at the 2001 Metro Music Awards: Best Kwaito Artist, Best Male Vocalist, Best Album, Best Styled Artist and Song Of The Year. Finally, also in 2001, Mandoza won the Best Artist – Southern Africa category at the Kora All Africa Music Awards. In 2003 Mandoza participated in the documentary film SHARP! SHARP! – the kwaito story, directed by Aryan Kaganof.
Mandoza’s music tries to “put a more constructive message into Kwaito.” Originally, Mandoza did not like the kwaito style, because of its lack of a message and tendency to focus on dancing and pleasure rather than on the plethora of social problems that exist in South Africa, even after apartheid ended in 1994.
Mandoza was voted 77th in the Top 100 Great South Africans in 2004.
In February 2005 it was announced that Mandoza would play a major supporting role in a new South African-made rugby union-themed feature film, Number 10, which would be directed by Academy Award nominee Darrell James Roodt. It was also announced that Mandoza would be contributing to the film’s soundtrack.
Mandoza sang in several of South Africa’s many languages, including English, Afrikaans, Zulu, and Xhosa, giving him wide appeal with South African Listeners.