Singer Vusi Nova sets the record straight on new hit song Ndincede

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Vusi Nova says Tanky-Tanky is credited as an author for the chorus of Ndincede.
Vusi Nova says Tanky-Tanky is credited as an author for the chorus of Ndincede.

He recently released his new single Ndincede, an afro-pop and gospel fusion song about the dangers of alcohol.

It all started when Vusi Nova saw a video of Ntombokuqala Thelma Mabuto, also known as Tanky-Tanky, a woman from KwaLanga township in Cape Town, singing the lyrics to what is now used as a chorus in his song Ndincede. 

He was intrigued and wanted to meet Tanky-Tanky and ask for permission to use the song as the chorus of his new release, which he has already recorded but had not finished.

“We flew to Cape Town to officially ask her if I could use her lyrics and that she will be credited and compensated for her creativity as we do with any songwriter,” Vusi tells Drum.

“Meeting her was amazing. She’s a bubbly person. We connected from when we first spoke on the phone, and when we met,” he says.

“It was as if I've known her for all my life. The family and the community were very welcoming, they really love "Ndincede", and I've been there twice now.”

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After a pleasant interaction with Tanky-Taky and her family, it was recently reported that Vusi Nova had only given the author of the chorus Tanky-Tanky R3000 and a case of beer and no official credit as the author of the chorus.

Hurt and disappointed by the rumours, Vusi says he knows what it is like to be taken advantage of and he would never do such an unthinkable thing. 

“I know what it is like to be exploited and to have your name used in scams. There are some people who pretend to represent me and take money from promoters and fans who come to shows thinking I will be there. I would never do that. In this case, there are certain individuals, [they are] are the ones who are creating controversy around this song.”

Vusi says Tanky-Tanky is credited as an author.

“I met with Tanky-Tanky and the family. I played them the song, asked for their blessings and they agreed that I use her lyrics for the chorus. We are sharing the song 50/50 as authors.”

Vusi adds that he brought the beer as a homecoming gift.

“I believe that certain people will always push their agendas. You do good, they criticize, and nothing will make them happy. I mainly focus on doing what's good and what I think is best in general,” he says.

“I didn't pay her with beer. As African, when you go home you bring what is called "ihambidlani" in Xhosa, a gift that you offer when visiting and that's all it was,” he says.

“With regards to the R3000, Tanky-Tanky told me that she doesn't have electricity at home, so I decided to give her the R3000 so she can get anything she needed including electricity. I would have done the same for anyone who had welcomed me into their home. She will be receiving her 50 percent author rights for the song.”

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Wanting to move away from the negativity, Vusi says his main focus is the positive response he has received after the release of Ndincede.

He felt the song was important to address the issue of alcoholism that is fast growing in the country, especially among young people.

“I felt like this is a people’s song. It reminded me of the late Brenda Fassie who comes from the same township as Tanky-Tanky. I felt people needed to hear this song because I loved it.”

He first heard Tanky-Tanky sing it in a video that went viral on social media.

“I sent out a message for anyone who knows Tanky-Tanky to get in touch with me. Her neighbor did and that’s when the story got really interesting. The lyrics are addressing societal problems in general in a fun manner and appeal particularly to everyone in the black community and educate us about the dangers of alcohol. In most cases, it [alcohol] leads to gender-based violence, and car accidents, and has broken many families."

A few years ago, Vusi spoke about his journey to overcoming drug addiction. “Drugs and alcohol abuse are generally not good for anyone,” he says.

“I was fortunate enough to have a family that supported me to overcome drugs and now I'm living drug-free. It has been over nine years without using drugs. Mentally I'm strong, and God and music have helped to shape my life.”

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Vusi is currently working on his compilation album titled Asphelelanga.

“It's a cover version album, bringing back old songs and paying tribute to the fallen artists. The album also has tracks from Ntsika, Ishmael, Ntando, 047, Malik, Hush, Phindi, and T-Phoenix.”

He is also building his alter ego brand Snova and enjoying the reception from people.

“The Snova brand is slowly growing and going in the right direction.”

Later this year, he plans to record and release new music.

“And I'm so happy that I will finally get to shoot a live DVD recording,” he adds.

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