Mafikizolo is the best selling and consensus greatest music duo in African history. The duo is made up of composer...
Mafikizolo is the best selling and consensus greatest music duo in African history. The duo is made up of composer Theo Kgosinkwe and lead singer Nhlanhla Nciza. Together, the pair have released some of Africa’s greatest hits such as “Love Portion”, “Khona” and “Tchelete”. This year (2022) marks the 25th year anniversary for the legendary group. Mafikizolo have enjoyed collaborating with some of the biggest African artists such as Davido, Wizkid, Yemi Alade, Yemi Alade, Tekno, Mr Mayd, Jah Prayzah, Diamond Platinum, Harmonize, Syleena Johnson and many more. The group can be found on all social media platforms. Mafikizolo songs have amassed well over 100 million views on YouTube where they have over 300 thousand subscribers. The group has just under 2 million followers on Facebook where they often post updates about upcoming songs and videos. The Hype Magazine’s Life & Style correspondent, Charles Myambo (CM) had an interview with Mafikizolo (MZ). Below are some excerpts from the interview.
CM: Mafikizolo is undoubtedly one of the best duos in the history of music worldwide. How did it all start for you before the fame and accolades?
MZ:1. Our musical journey started way back around the 90’s,we met at a talent search competition, we decided to team up and start our professional musical journey. One of the musicians we knew introduced us to producer/Dj Oskido who is one of the founders of a successful independent record label in South Africa called Kalawa jazmee, who later signed Mafikizolo in 1997. A 3rd member, the late Tebogo Madingoane was later introduced to add that Kwaito vibe, a genre that was popular then, after Oskido heard one of the songs on our demo called Mafikizolo he then decided to name us Mafikizolo.
CM: You are celebrating your 25th year in the industry which makes this interview all the more sweet. How does it feel to be getting the recognition you deserve from diaspora outlets such as The Hype Magazine?
MZ: We feel very blessed & highly favoured, it is not easy to continue to be relevant & successful after 2 decades in the music industry. We achieved so much in these 2 decades. We produced multi platinum selling albums, won numerous South African, Continental and overseas awards also scoring BET nominations. We have over the years performed in massive local and international events, sharing stages with other heavyweights. It is such a blessing and an honour to be profiled by one of the successful international magazines like The Hype Magazine.
CM: How has Mafikizolo managed to dominate and influence the music industry for such a long period without losing relevance like most?
MZ: We regard ourselves as a Pop band, An Afro pop outfit so we believe in the importance of us embracing new sounds without losing too much of who we are, for example we worked with the likes of DJ MAPHORISA and we came up with a smash afro dance music song KHONA, HAPPINESS FT MAYD, CHELETE feat DAVIDO that sound introduced us more into other countries like Nigeria, Ghana and other countries. We experimented with Afro beat sound and a hit song like LOVE POTION came out, cementing our place continentally. From time to time we like to work with fresh talent as well, experiment with newer sounds but filter in our own signature vibe into them.
CM: You have collaborated with several of Africa’s biggest names such as Davido, Uhuru, Jah Prayzah and many others. What are some of the projects and collaborations which you enjoyed the most?
MZ: We believe that collaboration is the key to growth in any business, our audience has grown so much due to us doing these collaborations. We really enjoyed working with the likes of Davido, Wizkid, Yemi Alade, Mr Mayd, Jah Prayzah, Diamond Platinum, Harmonize, Tekno, Syleena Johnson and many more. We’d say all of these projects are special to us. But our latest project IDWALA is more special to us, we worked with a young, fresh team of producers and musicians like Sjava, Ami faku, Sun el musician, Simmy, Murumba Pitch, Mondli Ngcobo and many others.
CM: “Love Portion” has become a love anthem throughout Africa and beyond. What was the creative process behind this mega hit?
MZ: Love Potion was one of the songs we recorded in 2004/5 originally called Ondenzatoni, and we decided to re-record it and give it an Afro beat vibe to it, we changed a few melodies and added new verses as well. We are happy that people love it globally.
CM: What are some of the biggest challenges that you faced before and after the fame?
MZ: We realized that it wasn’t as easy as we thought, after being signed it took us a couple of years to release music and our sound then wasn’t well understood and received by the market. We had great albums with good songs but we still struggled with that breakthrough song. Music has evolved a lot over the years in South Africa, the introduction of the new Amapiano sound has taken not only South Africa but the continent and the globe by storm, being Authentic and keeping our lane has been tricky but fortunately we are able to adapt quickly, we featured on other people songs with Amapiano sound, we were able to get booked regularly and our latest project is doing very well. The way music is consumed has changed a lot over the years, we now live in a digital world where CDS are the thing of the past, we download and stream now, people can produced a song Today and drop it Tomorrow and through social media the song can blow up within days so adapting to new ways has been challenging at first but we are riding the wave and we are enjoying it because you are exposed to other markets quicker. Despite all of these new developments we are able to reinvent ourselves.
CM: What can we look forward to from Mafikizolo going into the new year of 2023 and what words of wisdom would you share with any aspiring musicians who may want to emulate your legendary success?
MZ: We have released our new album called IDWALA, it is a beautiful work of art that is available in all leading music downloading sites. In there we have worked with fresh talent, experimented with newer sounds and featured younger talent and we would be promoting that album. We are also working on a tour in celebration of our 25th year in the industry. Stage performance is one thing we take seriously so we keep on working on it, injecting new energy all the time. People should come to our shows to experience that, we have new faces in our team, new band members added, new dance crew ,we rebranded ourselves without losing who we are and yes we are excited about our musical journey. We are still relevant & still serving good music. To all the aspiring musicians out there, our advice is ,stay hungry, keep working hard especially when you feel like you made it, when you are fortunate enough to drop a hit song, keep working on more songs, so you can have a catalogue, stay humble, try to be as Authentic as possible, be proud of where you come from, embrace your culture, language & your music and don’t lose who you are. Africa is in the spotlight now as far as entertainment is concerned and there has never been a better time to export our music. The world is hungry for something new & different.
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