He still reigns. . .

2012-03-16 14:28

“999Music is not for babies... The pressure is intense with all the competition from our rivals.

People are always writing our obituary. It’s not easy being one of the longest surviving independent labels in the country.

“It’s about accepting change and knowing how to deal with change and conforming to industry demands.”

We have moved from cassette and vinyl records to using computers and mobile phones to buy music.
He counts on the media and his supporters as his change forecasters.

Mafokate’s genius in marketing is legendary. He is the master of spin and he is savvy in his media dealings.

“I did marketing at school. I did case studies and I know how to deal with change. I worked for a marketing company for 13 years in Pretoria.”

Even in his responses he is careful not to come across as arrogant, rather he is calculated and smart.
He points our that the company has diversified. 999Music is now a marketing company incorporating music.

They hire out sound systems and do below the line marketing.

“Our way of survival is no more just recording music. I came to a point where I had to choose whether I wanted to double the size of the company and take more risks or venture into other things, I choose the latter.

“999Music has been a foundation for young aspirant industry people in various art forms from performance to marketing.”

These days he hobnobs with parliamentarians and attending the opening of the parliament is equal to a family outing for him. Last month he attended with his son AJ and current poster girl Chomee.

He says he was excited and shocked when he received the invite the first time in 2008.

“...but having been active in politics for such a long time I said it was about time. I was amazed by the conversations parliamentarians engage in, everything is about ‘the people’ around the dinner table, coming from the music industry where we discuss frivolous things, it was a different scene and surprising because the perception is that they don’t care.”

The news of Mafokate’s DJing son caused a stir when DJ AJ emerged late last year. Mafokate insists that he has been around all the time. “He lived his life happily with me and sometimes with his mother (whom he is unwilling to identify).”

The eternal bachelor, Mafokate has been linked to a bevy of beauties, curiously most of them belonging to his stable. Abashante dancer Tsholo Makhura failed to drag him to the altar and lead singer Queen Sesoko’s also flopped.

Notoriously private, Mafokate has never confirmed romance with his current star Chomee with whom he has been linked and he mentored from when she was nine years old.

Mafokate’s contribution to the music landscape is undeniable and deserves applause, but there will be no bigger star than Arthur at 999Music.

Two decades later Mafokate has not only earned his street cred, but has some wisdom to share: “About life I learnt that for whatever that you want to see happen with your dreams you need to work hard on your craft, persevere, be focused, be disciplined and respect people.

“About music I learned that it is not an industry for weak people, competition is tough and creativity is the mother of all successes that you will achieve thereafter.

“About love you need to love your work, people around and most of all know that for you to be loved the love you pass on to others will be returned in a big way.

“About family I learned that they are your pillar of strength since they are the only people that will always welcome in both hands no matter what the public might think of your music or not, family will not look at you as a celebrity but as just another member.”


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