Gospel Due hits the top note

By Drum Digital
08 December 2010

THUNDEROUS roar erupted from the crowd as the well-dressed duo ran on to the stage to collect their award for Best Newcomer at the Crown Gospel Awards in Durban.

The pair, already well-known for their crazy, high-energy performances which usually end with a short and funny sermon, didn’t disappoint whey they got on stage.They imitated airplanes and did the indlamu (a traditional Zulu dance), kicking their feet high in the air as their hit Umhlatshelo played in the background.

For popular gospel duo Sgwili Zuma and Babo Ngcobo the award was the cherry on top of a wonderful night ? and now, chatting to us a few days later, Sgwili says he was so excited about the event he was in tears even before he got to the venue.

“I was sitting in the limousine getting ready to walk down the red carpet and all I could do was cry,” the 26-year-old admits.

“This guy is funny,” Babo (37) teases. “We’re about to walk into the most important night of our life and he’s crying!”

“I’m very emotional and cry easily,” Sgwili says, not in the least offended. “We’ve grown so close we’re like brothers,” Babo adds, giving his pal a high five.

“I call him umlungu wam [my white man] because of his albinism and he calls me iboesman lakhe [my coloured man] because my father is coloured, even though I hate the nickname.”

This easy friendship shows when they’re on stage, driving fans crazy with high energy, mad-cap dancing coupled with smooth, spiritual sounds.

“When people see us they see our crazy side,” Babo says. “Sometimes we’ll be driving to a show, talking about a new dance move, and we’ll stop the car and try out the moves on the side of the road. And if it works, we’ll use it.

“We go wild on stage but the fans understand when the fun and jokes are over, it’s time to get down to God’s serious business and praise Him.”

The’ve been together for three years but it’s only this year that things have really started happening for them. They laugh as they recall the first time they attended the Crown Gospel Awards in 2008.

“It was the first year of the awards and we were part of the crowd next to the red carpet, cheering for our favourite gospel stars,” Sgwili says.

“The second year we were on the red carpet ? and also performed ? but we weren’t nominated for any awards.”

“This time Sgwili [whose name means one who has money] told me we wouldn’t just be on the red carpet or performing ? we’d walk away with one of the crowns. and we did!” Babo adds, giving his bandmate another high five.

“We’ve finally made it.” THE pair knew each other for several years after meeting on the Durban choir circuit and at recording studios, but it took a shared tragedy to bring them together as a team. After graduating from high school in 2003, Sgwili joined local gospel group Salvation of God and recorded the album Mina Ngiyamazi with them. In 2005 he went solo and recorded his debut album, Ngivezizandla. He then asked Babo to pen a few songs for his next album, Umhlatshelo.

Read the full article in DRUM of 16 December 2010

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