Mabongi's making magic

By Mpho Tshikhudo
08 December 2016

Born in Thulamaha she in Bushbuckridge, Mpumalanga, the path to Mabongi’s music career was a long and winding one

“When I was younger I knew I had this love of music, but only when I was in high school did I think long and hard about music as a career,” she remembers.  But her parents had their doubts.

“My mother was anti the showbiz thing, so after high school I decided against the idea and studied medicine instead. “I did that for a year, but it didn’t work. Then I registered for a project management course, but after another year I decided not to continue.

I didn’t feel fulfilled in that career path,” she admits.

Luckily, music is in the family, and her uncle, Pastor Mandla Chawane of Touching the Heart of God Worship Centre, was in a position to give Mabongi a shot at studying it.

He pushed the issue with her parents and, even though her mother was worried about the stories of drugs in the industry, they relented. “My parents are so supportive now,” she notes. “They don’t mind driving from Bushbuckridge just to come and watch me on a show.”

Mabongi hit the big time in 2012 when she released her impressive debut album, Tshama. The album won the SABC Crown Gospel Music award for Best Jazz in 2013, and Mabongi instantly became the toast of town.

We don’t see the award on display in her lounge, though. “The award is in church, in my pastor’s office,” she smiles. “Winning it was a game changer.

But that was then. Now everyone who loved Tshama wants to know more about her upcoming, as yet untitled album.

Read more in 15 December issue of DRUM

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