Is this the end for Afro-pop duo Malaika?

2015-03-08 06:00

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Award-winning Malaika was once popular with their hit song, Destiny, but their last release, The Best of Malaika, was in 2011.

The last time we saw lead singer Tshedi Mholo and her bandmate Bongani Nchang performing was in 2013 at a jazz festival in Moretele Park, Pretoria. Since then the Afro-pop group has stopped performing together.

Mholo has told City Press she can’t even get hold of Nchang any more, despite him being a regular presenter on SABC2.

People close to the duo say this might well be the end for the group.

“This time around I think the group has permanently broken up,” said a source, who asked not to be named.

Mholo told City Press: “I’m tired of lying. I have been trying to trace Bongani but I can’t find him.”

She said last year she tried to make contact with Nchang.

“I asked him for a meeting. I wanted us to meet so that we can restructure Malaika. He promised to come back to me but never did,” she said.

Mholo says that to this day she doesn’t know his whereabouts.

She said they have had several meetings with Sony Music to find out what was happening with the brand, but no one was willing to give them answers. She said most people who had been there when Malaika was born had since left the Sony label.

“This is such a complicated issue. I dedicated my life to Malaika. Fans always ask me ‘where is Malaika?’ wherever I go. Unfortunately, I always don’t have answers,” she said.

The duo lost bandmate Jabu Ndaba in 2008, after his long battle with TB.

She said she would be happy if Malaika could make a comeback, because she owed her success to her fans.

“But we’ll have to go back to the drawing board and resolve some issues,” she said.

Mholo blamed Sony Music for not having a stronger structure to market their music and also for failing to support them when they could see the group was falling apart. Tshedi also claims she’s not getting any royalties for hit song Destiny.

Mholo is now focusing on her career as a solo artist, but says it’s challenging.

“I’m a mother and have to make a living. I would rather sell my CDs from my car boot,” she added.

When City Press phoned Nchang this week he sang a different tune.

He said: “I cannot conclude [that] Malaika is dead. All I know is that, as the group, we still owe Sony Music an album.”

He said they still received queries to perform overseas, but he was never available because the dates always clashed with his SABC2 Gospel Classic commitments. Nchang is co-hosting the gospel show with Tshepo Maseko. He also denied that his bandmate tried to make contact with him.

“I have projects I’m currently working on and I am a happy father of two.”

Sony Music had not responded to requests for comment.

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