Sipho ‘Hotstix’ Mabuse: A legend inspires the youth

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Legendary Musician Sipho ‘Hotstix’ Mabuse at Vuma’s My Community Cooks event at the Soweto Theatre. Photo: City Press
Legendary Musician Sipho ‘Hotstix’ Mabuse at Vuma’s My Community Cooks event at the Soweto Theatre. Photo: City Press


Everything that exists is a product of our past. Paying homage to those who have influenced the way art is received, by learning from their words of wisdom, is so important.

So it was with honour that the legendary Sipho “Hotstix” Mabuse took to the stage to share experiences of his days in the music industry and give young and emerging talent advice on surviving and thriving in the music industry.

Hotstix was a guest at the My Community Cooks event, sponsored by Vuma and held at the Soweto Theatre last weekend.

Born in 1951, in Soweto, Hotstix began his music career at the tender age of 10.

As he continued to hone his craft, his destiny soon came to light during his teenage years at Orlando West High School, with a music group which would soon be known to all as The Beaters, later changed to Harari.

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The funk and soul group went on to give us classics such as Harari, which became the voice of a movement in Zimbabwe, and South Africa through the struggle for civil rights.

What would follow was the massive success of the group that saw them land a spot on the Billboard Top 100, in a time when black artists were often erased and ignored from mainstream narratives. His solo career began soon after, when the musician extraordinaire released his first record – Burn Out.

Musician extraordinaire Sipho ‘Hotstix’ Mabuse sha
Musician extraordinaire Sipho ‘Hotstix’ Mabuse shares his experiences in the music industry and gives emerging talent advice, at Vuma’s My Community Cooks event at the Soweto Theatre. Photo: City Press
Attendees were given the opportunity to hear Sipho ‘Hotstix’ Mabuse sing some of his greatest hits, at Vuma’s My Community Cooks event at the Soweto Theatre. Photo: City Press
Attendees were given the opportunity to hear Sipho ‘Hotstix’ Mabuse sing some of his greatest hits, at Vuma’s My Community Cooks event at the Soweto Theatre. Photo: City Press

With a history as rich as his, Hotstix was the perfect voice to influence the youth at Vuma’s My Community Cooks event.

The technology company aims to connect the world with innovative seminars and workshops that elevate, guide and nurture undiscovered talent, especially through the devastation that the Covid-19 pandemic has had on artists.

“I truly appreciate the efforts of Vuma, as they continue to create platforms for creatives. Through the digital age, Vuma allows us to analyse and disseminate parts of our society. Young people have a responsibility, first to get into the space as artists and creatives, and then to decide how they will advance others once they are given the opportunity. I believe that Vuma is opening the door on conversations such as those,” said Hotstix.

Through collaboration with the Soweto Wine and Lifestyle festival, and the Soweto Theatre, Vuma was able to create a safe and open space where young artists could understand, ask Hotstix questions and gain insight into what it takes to touch some of the success he has seen through the course of his long and illustrious career.

Attendees were even given the opportunity to hear the legend sing some of his greatest hits, such as Burn Out.

Some of the icon’s advice had him delve deeply into what it meant to be an artist in his day, and some of the struggles he faced being a part of a music group, especially when there were different visions.

Hotstix said:

We were advancing the struggle, but we were also around a lot of influences and were becoming men ourselves. There are two things you need to be wary of as an artist: drugs and alcohol. I was the leader of the group, but I couldn’t be anyone’s parent, and many of the members got taken by the lifestyle. You don’t think it’s possible until you are in that position, so you must be focused and determined to achieve what you have set out for yourself.

The reality that many artists, particularly musicians, face when life after the pandemic is brought into play is stark. During the last 18 months, many lost the opportunity to make names for themselves, and as a result lost much of the momentum they had established before the pandemic.

Hotstix acknowledged these difficulties, saying: “Fate plays a role in one’s destiny, but a real musician never quits. It takes a certain kind of resilience, perseverance and determination to reach the dream.”

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The day was also filled with laughs, as Hotstix attempted to understand the trends of the youth, by touching on amapiano and what creates room for trends to thrive in this day and age; and highlighting the importance of connecting old and young, as the times move, which would allow for the longevity of musicians and artists.

Over the course of the week, Vuma hosted talents such as Gigi Lamayne, who also had the honour of speaking to young artists trying to make it in the industry. The event hosted a range of young dance talent as well.

One thing that stood out through the course of the day was the power of knowledge, as Hotstix encouraged attendees to always thirst for more, which might make space for self-made opportunities.


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