Gospel golden couple ticks

2012-01-28 12:41

There is something charming about gospel stars Ntokozo Mbambo and her husband Nqubeko Mbatha in action. Whether up on stage making beautiful gospel music or relaxing in the studio, it is evident that their love is intense.

Their chemistry, the subtle eye contact, secret language codes, the high fives and finishing each other’s sentences point to soulmates whose love for each other can inspire a thousand romantic melodies.

I meet the Mbathas at the Native Rhythms Studio in Rosebank where they are preparing for Ntokozo’s upcoming concert at the Lyric Theatre.

This is the first time in five years that Ntokozo will be performing solo and she is pumped up.

“I have a lot say. Five years is a long time. I want to give thanks,” she says, giving a hearty laugh.

She will be recording her first live DVD and CD since she took time off to get married, have daughter Fanelesibonge (now eight months), help her husband record his debut album and tour with Joyous Celebration in between.

And now for three hours she will be ministering to her followers at the Lyric while giving thanks for the great life and love she has been blessed with.

“In the five years I have learned so much that I want to share with people,” she says. She will perform new compositions and old material.

Nqubeko is the musical director and will produce the CD.

“The audience will see a fresh Ntokozo. This concert is her baby. In the past some decisions were made for her because she was younger. This concert has been prepared in her mind for years,” he says. “We’ve worked on a tight presentation with the help of our friends from Joyous Celebration. We do recognise that it’s a ministry, but also art. There will be some surprise artists that are still on the hush-hush.”

Ntokozo joined Joyous Celebration at 15, becoming one of the youngest members after being recruited by Mthunzi Namba, a family friend. And now at 26 she has found love and marriage in the popular gospel ensemble and has become a star .

“People think that getting into music is an easy way to make a quick buck. They don’t realise that you have to work hard and be patient, you have to be rooted and grounded. You can’t afford to be swayed.”

On being a music couple, Nqubeko says it’s ideal. “I enjoy working with her. We spend time together.” Ntokozo adds that “it’s fun for us because we started by working together before we were a couple and we have a formula that works.”

When it comes to intrusive fans and their prying eyes, Nqubeko says he has come to understand his wife’s fanbase and be able to tell those who genuinely love her from the dangerous ones.

As the world of celebrity keeps getting rocked by divorces and short-lived marriages, the Mbathas – who have been married for four years – believe that their faith will keep them together. “We believe in God and are rooted in church. We have people who speak the word of God over us and we accept advice and listen to avoid the blindspots of life,” says Nqubeko, 32.

Ntokozo talks about accommodating her partner’s needs to ensure that their love stays strong. “I love him so much that things I have to give up don’t amount to sacrifices.”

They are aware of the responsibility of being role models to young couples; they are today’s version of Letta Mbulu and Caiphus Semenya whose romance has been hailed as one of the great love stories up there with the late Walter and Albertina Sisulu.

Says Nqubeko: “We have to lead by example and practice what we preach.”

Ever the romantic, Mbatha says it’s the little things that keep the home fires burning; like driving to the local McDonald’s for ice cream and watching movies at home with popcorn. They avoid singing at home and prefer each other’s company.

They plan a nationwide tour after the concert, including a stop-over at Mbatha’s hometown of Empangeni in KwaZulu-Natal.

» Ntokozo’s concert will be staged at the Lyric Theatre of the Gold Reef City on February 10 at 6pm.
» ?Tickets are available at Computicket from R120 to R200

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