Soweto — The late Mduduzi Tshabalala, known to the world as Mandoza, made an enormous civic contribution as a motivation force and nation building brand ambassador through his music, says Communications Minister Faith Muthambi.
Thousands of mourners attended the Nkalakatha hitmaker's funeral at Grace Bible Church in Pimville, Soweto, on Friday. The kwaito legend, who died on his wife's birthday, on Sunday, 18 September, after a long battle with cancer, will be laid to rest at West Park cemetery.
Paying tribute to Mandoza in a prepared speech on Friday, the Minister said Mandoza fearlessly challenged the false stereotypes that continue to be perpetuated about black youth and townships.
"With his unmistakable Zola 'kasi taal' and fashion style, he made it cool to be from the township. He gave hope for disadvantaged youth across our townships. Indeed, Mandoza was living proof that your past does not define your future," she said.
Minister Muthambi said Mandoza was a quintessential street poet who used his music as an effective vehicle to reach and encourage young South Africans not to rest on their laurels but to stand up and be counted.
Minister Muthambi said the late kwaito's son, Nkalakatha, became a crossover hit and reached the top of the charts on both traditionally black and white radio stations and went on to help consolidate nation building agenda of the great Nelson Mandela.
"From a small dingy bar in Benoni to a corner shebeen in Langa, the song Nkalakatha became synonymous with the South African dance scene. As recognition to its influence on South African music landscape, Nkalakatha went on to win numerous accolades including the South African Music Awards and the continental Kora All Africa Music Awards," she said.
The Minister said his song, Uzoyithola Kanjani, literally means: "How are you going to get it, if you don't get up and go for it," challenged young people of the day to achieve their goals to the best of their capabilities and resist the temptation to survive on handouts.
"This song became a soundtrack for the so-called born-frees and signalled a burgeoning entrepreneurship culture that gripped the country fronted by ambitious young blacks go-getters who lived by the mantra, 'sick and tired of being sick and tired'."
Mandoza's music represented this young robust generation. "They existed in a new era of young and upcoming South African artists who beat the odds of growing up tough and using music and the arts as an escape and conduit to share their hard-knock life stories and carve a new path through the arts," the Minister said.
Mandoza is survived by his wife, Mpho, four children, Tokollo, Tumelo, Thapelo and Karabo Tshabalala. Speaking at the funeral his wife Mpho said: "We are the Nkalakatha family, I will always love my husband. I will raise these kids and I will continue to build his legacy through Nkalakatha Records".