The surprising story behind Mandoza's hit song Nkalakatha

By Pieter van Zyl
19 September 2016

Mandoza had begun to resent the song that made him a household name.

The power track is all but our nation's unofficial national anthem, known and loved by South Africans from all walks of life.

So when the musician behind it tragically died at the age of 38 died after a battle with brain cancer, Nkalakatha was likely the first tune that came to mind for many.

But believe it or not,

"I’m so sick of that song, so sick of performing it," the father of four told IOL." I’ve performed it for 11 years. Don’t get me wrong: I’m grateful for its success, but I really don’t like performing it anymore."

"I feel like people put me in a box early on in my career and I became a kwaito musician before I was a musician. Nkalakatha was a hit, yes. But people should move on and focus on what I have to offer now.”

Read more: RIP, Mandoza: kwaito star loses the battle against cancer

The singer, whose real name was Mduduzi Tshabalala, was diagnosed with nasopharyngeal carcinoma, a cancer that attacks the tissue in the upper part of the throat behind the nose.

A tumour pressing on his orbital nerve had caused Mandoza to go blind – but it wasn’t enough stop him performing in Orlando last Saturday. He was helped on stage by friends, much to the crowd’s frenzied delight.

Read more: Mandoza’s wife confirms heartbreaking cancer news – but insists the singer is still fighting

In a touching interview with YOU just days before her husband’s passing, Mpho Tshabalala was full of hope that her husband would beat the disease. “There is still so much he needs to do,” she says. “He wants to watch his son become a soccer star. He still needs to walk his daughter down the aisle.” He is survived by his wife Mpho and four children. For the full interview with Mpho, see this week’s YOU, on sale now.

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