Ain’t no mountain high enough

2011-12-02 14:05

By the time you read this, Kabelo Mabalane will be scaling the tough terrain of the 6 959m-high Mount Aconcagua in Argentina.

Some call it madness considering the number of deaths experienced in these exercises while others see it as a mean feat among mountaineering challenges.

Mount Aconcagua is on the Argentine border with Chile, and has a Polish Glacier.

He will be climbing for a good two weeks with a team of professionals – three of the climbers are recovering drug addicts.

They hope to summit on December 16. This is a part of the 34-year-old’s mission to climb all seven summits of the world in his anti-drug campaign aimed at instilling hope in young people – spreading a message that you can conquer whatever you set your mind to.

He has already reached the peak of Mount Kosciuszko in Australia.

It is the tallest on that continent at 2 228m above sea level.

After Aconcagua, he still has five to go: Kilimanjaro in Africa (5 892m), Mount Elbrus in the Caucasus (5 642m), Carstensz Pyramid in Oceania (4 884m), Mount McKinley in North America (6 194m) and ultimately Mount Everest in Asia (8 848m).

Mabalane’s five-time conquests in the torturous 89km Comrades are well documented. It would seem the kwaito exponent has morphed into an extreme athlete.

What’s a musician – who should be up on stage breaking minimal sweat – doing running ultra marathons and climbing mountains.

Psychologists have always insisted that people with an addictive personality need to find another rush to replace the old bad habit.

Since he came clean with his drug addiction some eight years ago, Mabalane has swapped the seedy self-destructive life for one of fitness and clean living earning himself legions of new fans along the way.

His TV career has also been going well – last year Mabalane won the best newcomer overall and best newcomer TV presenter for his SABC2 show Sportsnite at the SAB Sports Journalist of the Year Awards.

But he has not given up on music. His latest release Immortal Vol.1 has just been released and the critics are unanimous that he is one of kwaito’s last hopes (outside of Durban of course).

Sixteen years on and Mabalane is still happening. “It’s those who are fluid and willing to change that will survive and it’s the genuine love I have for what I do. I am a highly competitive individual, I love winning and that’s what gets me through.

“Once you’ve tasted number one, number two is not that good any?more.”

Immortal Vol.1 is his first release since 2007. “Time ran away with me,” he says referring to his marathon running. “I wanted to explore other gifts I have.

Running has opened major doors for me and my community work through Shout has given me a purpose.

“I have become Kabelo the runner and the socially conscious guy and may have forgotten that I am a musician too. But this release was to happen at the right time.”

The result is a 12-track album that includes the fun Ice Cream Soda featuring The Real Black Pearl which he describes as a war cry he has been planning to record since the days of TKZee.

 It has a nostalgic feel of his younger years growing up in Diepkloof. His collaboration with Professor, Amapantsula Ajabulile, has also been lauded. “Professor instilled the confidence that we could have something good.”

What he considers a career scoop is his duet with The Parlotones’s in We Build A Rock.

The chorus was written by band leader Khan Morbee over two weeks and the song was recorded on the eve of the band’s departure overseas.

“I am the first local artist to feature The Parlotones on his album, I think it’s an honour and a privilege.

This band represents our sound, the purpose of our getting together is to open doors and have a universal appeal across the boards.”

Unlike his previous releases, Mabalane features a record number of collaborators on this album. “Traditionally I would have sung all those choruses and verses but I sought strategic alliances with my collaborators.

“My motto is passion, integrity and success, and these attributes resonate with everyone.

“They have to be all aligned for you to be a complete person. I can’t say I get 10/10, but I haven’t done too badly.”

He may be applauded and celebrated, but Mabalane says he hasn’t achieved what he set out to do in music yet.

 “Africa and the world beckons. I want to be a major player within the African music scene to capitalise on the popularity brought about by TKZee and my solo projects.”

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions. publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.