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Mandoza - Celebrity and Kwaito Musician -
year’s South African Music Awards may have been a
powerful reminder of the enduring power of kwaito –
but if there’s one artist who has consistently
remained faithful to the genre that spawned him,
it’s Mduduzi Tshabalala.
his extensive fanbase simply as Mandoza, the artist
has always believed in kwaito’s ability to convey
his heartfelt emotions, life experiences and those
hopes and dreams and challenges of the generation
that, like him, moved towards adulthood in first
flush of post-apartheid South Africa.
early days in seminal kwaito group, Chiskop, and
especially in his solo career, the Zola,
Soweto-raised Mandoza has also never let the musical
boundaries some link to kwaito to constrain his
creativity. You only need look at the chance he took
in creating ‘Nkalakatha’ with producer Gabi Le Roux
in the opening year of the 21st century
to understand how easily Mandoza is able to take
kwaito forward. That award-winning and evergreen hit
song made full use of rock stylings to become – and
still remain – the biggest crossover South African
hit in recent memory.
creating his 2010 album, ‘Real Deal’ Mandoza has
again remained true to kwaito’s eKasi heart whilst
taking a music adventure that sees the genre
stretched to include elements of jazz, electronica,
R&B and pop.
approach every album with the vision of making it
better than what has come before, no matter what
challenges I’ve faced in my life in the period
between records,” Mandoza confides.
the personal challenges the platinum-selling,
award-winning artist has faced in recent years
provides creative stimulation for the songwriter in
Mandoza – in particular on the nakedly emotional
say it all,” Mandoza says of the track which he
penned with Sipho Ngwenya and Ziyon, the vocalist of
the current dance hitmakers, Liquideep.
Mandoza’s unmistakable gruff, emotion-heavy voice,
the R&B-infused track is a powerful take on what it
takes to be “a man, a dad, a famous man” – the lack
of privacy, the intense pressure, the unrelenting
spotlight when things go wrong (“sometimes you say
wrong things to other people/but you know what/I’m
hard as it sometimes is to live life in the tabloid
spotlight, Mandoza’s not shying away from his role
to be a “soldier” who believes in himself.
the opening track of ‘Real Deal, calls on people to
“do what they do best”, something Mandoza has never
stopped doing all his professional life.
powerful track showcases, around 15 years in the
business hasn’t taken the shine off Mandoza’s
all-round talent: from the propulsive melody and
direct lyrics to the incredible delivery, “Moja
Solja” is a siren call to those who have ever
doubted Mandoza’s ability to deliver hits, year
after year, album after album.
‘Real Deal’ sees Mandoza team up with several
different producers to create possibly his most
diverse album ever: “It was important to me in
taking kwaito forward to work with different producers and co-songwriters,” Mandoza
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