Tuesday, March 06, 2007


Mandoza - Nkalakatha

One of South Africa’s top and most successful cross-over artists to appeal to both English, Afrikaans, Zulu, Xhosa and probably all the rest of our 11 official languages, has to be Mr. Kwaito – Mandoza.

Sol Kerzner got us to secure South African Music Award winner Mandoza as a surprise gift to his staff at his Klein Leeukoppie Estate family home, in Hout Bay, on New Years Eve 2005. Nestled on the slopes of the mountain, over-looking the valley, the Kerzners had invited some 500 people (I have never witnessed so much silicone before) and everyone was taking full advantage of the free bar and food – after all, it was New Years Eve.

When we first met Mandoza in the car-park, he street-hit Lenny with some totally incomprehensible kind of greeting, that if you do not come from the streets of Soweto or, just plain and simple, are white, you have no chance of understanding. So we just smiled and led him to his dressing room.

Despite some of the bad press he has received in the past, the Mandoza we saw was an awesome person to work with, and I admired how he handled the people around him.

Some of the staff had lined up on the side of the path to his dressing room, wanting autographs, pictures on their cellphones with him, and all along he obliged, giving each person a little personal attention.

Even when things were abit delayed at the start of his show; we had to find Sol to personally announce his gift to his staff, Mandoza was ever the cool-cat and took everything in his stride.

Up on stage, he was just magnificent! With his hits like Nkalakatha, Tornado and 50/50 blasting out over this mostly white audience, who were packed around the stage, he brought such a real energy to the party. And it was a once in a life time chance to see jewel-bedecked prim and proper ladies kick off their high-heels to boogy on down with the Mama’s from the cleaning & ground staff, in honour of all Mama’s in South Africa.

Later on in the early morning I introduced Mandoza to Sol, and they were both raving to each other about how much they had heard of each other… so I quietly slipped away and had my first peaceful drink of 2006… satisfied with another job well done!

Nkalakatha (2001 Song of the Year and SAMA winner for Best Album) was one of the tracks that we heard played at every single ABSA and Engen athletics event held around the country; in small boere towns, to rural townships hidden on the maps of SA, to universities and school campus’s to every major stadium event hosting rugby or soccer. And even though I heard it mostly through the head of ABSA Ant (pictured right in full celebration!) or Chick-E – the beat always got my feet shuffling!

A funky song I would say! And we're looking forward to more in the future!

Oh, and just a small reminder...

Vote for me

21h07 UPDATE: As fate would have it - I have just received news that Mandoza is going to be appearing in Australia on the following dates:

30 March @ The Convention Centre, Perth
31 March @ The Fitzroy Town Hall, Melbourne
01 April @ The Metro Theatre, Sydney

See come on expats - here is an excellent chance to see the man in action!

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