Known for hits such as Godoba, Sgelekeqe and Respect Life, the late Mduduzi ‘Mandoza’ Tshabalala was undoubtedly an impactful and iconic musician. This coming weekend (the 18th of September 2022) marks six years since the kwaito star breathed his last after his battle with cancer.
His charisma, husky voice and confidence all made him unique and won him the hearts of many South Africans, especially in a time when the country was dealing with the trauma and immediate after-effects of apartheid.
And who could forget Nkalakatha? A banger that united South Africans from all walks of life regardless of the colour of their skin!
Mandoza started his music career with Chiskop, a kwaito group formed with his childhood friends Sizwe Motaung, Siphiwe Sbisi and Sibusiso Thanjekwayo. Throughout his career, he shared bonds with various talented musicians including Mdu Masilela, Oskido and Arthur Mafokate.
In 2002, the Nkalakatha hitmaker formed a collaboration with Danny K. Although the combination of the two musicians came rather unexpected to man y of their supporters, the two developed a strong relationship on and off stage.
We spoke to Danny K about the times he shared with Mandoza. In a heartfelt reflection of the relationship he had with his close friend and industry colleague, he described Mandoza as one of the most dynamic and charismatic performers he has ever been with on stage and in studio.
“He was more than just a collaborator to me. He was a friend and a brother. We became very close in a short space of time. His energy was electric and infectious to everyone around him,” he said.
Danny K also added that it was no coincidence for Mandoza, being the incredible artist that he was, to capture the hearts and minds of South Africans. The late musician was indeed extremely talented and influential.
Through his music, Mandoza let us know that he was proudly “itsotsi yase Zola” (born and bred in Zola, a township in Soweto). According to Danny K, his authenticity and pride for his place of upbringing are two things he always carried with him.
“He was unashamedly himself; always the kid from the kasi. Whether he was with royalty or the rich, he never changed and that’s what made him so very special”.
Although his passing has left a void impossible to fill in the hearts of those whose lives were closely linked to his, Mandoza has also left a legacy that lives on and his work remains loved, enjoyed and celebrated.