Mandoza's moving on

By Drum Digital
20 October 2010

TO SAY Mandoza has had the worst two years of his life is no exaggeration. After his muchpublicised car crash in 2008, which left two people dead, his soaring music career came crashing down, and on top of that there were persistent rumours his health was failing after he appeared on TV looking gaunt with red, swollen lips and bad skin.

Things went from bad to worse for the 32-year-old singer when his wife suffered a stroke shortly after giving birth, sparking speculation the couple was on the brink of divorce. Meanwhile it also emerged Mandoza had sold off his multi-million rand home in the exclusive Roodepoort estate of Eagle Canyon, allegedly because he was on the verge of bankruptcy.But looking at Mandoza today, playing with his tiny daughter, you can’t deny the truth behind the Setswana idiom ‘leina lebe ke seromo’, which means a child will live up to the name it is given. The newest addition to the family has been named Karabo, which means answer – and there’s no doubt the tiny two-month-old is the answer to her beleaguered dad’s prayers.

“I’ve been through a very difficult time,” Mandoza admits, without taking his eyes off Karabo as she lies in her beautiful mom’s arms. “So many bad things have happened, but this new baby has helped me rediscover my family and my spirituality. I’ve turned my life around. I know what’s important to me – and it’s not having a big house or a fancy car. It’s my family and I couldn’t bear to lose them.”

We’re sitting in the tranquil surroundings of the exclusive Mount Grace Country House, nestled in the Magaliesberg outside Joburg, for a rare and exclusive interview with Mandoza (real name Mduduzi Tshabalala) and his wife, Mpho (29). Also here are the couple’s sons, Tokollo (10) and Tumelo (6), and the boys are taking full advantage of the sunshine and the cool mountain air to chase each other around the immaculate gardens while their parents open up about their lives.

It’s strange to see Mandoza, the gravelvoiced kwaito star who once had a typical hard-partying reputation, cooing at his little angel, changing her nappy and giving her a feed. The doting dad is worried about the breeze and insists Mpho wrap an extra blanket around her.

“Karabo is very much Daddy’s girl,” Mpho says, smiling as she searches the baby’s bag for another blanket. “He’s been much more involved with her than he was when the boys were this size. The two of them got really close while I was in hospital. Sometimes he thinks he’s the mommy and can be very overprotective.”

Mpho’s stroke kept her in hospital for over a month (My girls are okay, 23 September) but she’s fine, she assures us. However, she still looks frail and is a little self-conscious of a bad rash on her neck.

“I’ve had it for a while now,” she says. “The doctors say it might have been an allergic reaction to the medication I was taking. It was really itchy and my scratching made it worse.”

The young mom is also still having trouble with her speech, which is noticeably slurred. “It takes me a bit longer to form words and put sentences together,” she admits as Mandoza strokes her hand reassuringly. “But with time it will come right. I’m just so happy to be back on my feet again and at home.”

Although she had an easy pregnancy her high blood pressure wasn’t properly monitored, which could have led to the stroke, she believes.

Read the full article in DRUM of 28 October 2010

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