‘I am me, that’s all that I can give to people’ – Trompies founding member Mandla Spikiri

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Iconic Kwaito star Spikiri says he has been working on new music with the rest of Trompies members.
Iconic Kwaito star Spikiri says he has been working on new music with the rest of Trompies members.
Oupa Bopape

It was an unforgettable year. The country was settling into the new democracy, the Springboks won the World Cup against the All Black in Ellis Park and Trompies released their major hit, Sigiya Ngengoma. 

From then on, the kwaito group released hit after hit including Fohloza, My Sweety Lova and Magasman. 

Then then a few years later, they went quiet. 

For many years, people knew the Kwaito group Trompies as just four members Mandla "Spikiri" Mofokeng, Eugene "Donald Duck" Mthethwa, Jairus "Jakarumba" Nkwe, and Zynne "Mahoota" Sibiko, with Emmanuel Majalefa 'Mjokes' Matsane, working tirelessly in the background from the time the group started. 

“We did the Kasi Kwaito Rap but Mjokes was the one responsible for the melodies and leading the group because he could sing. For years, he led the group from the back and had a solo career as Copperhead. Many people did not know he was the brains behind many hits like Sweety Lavo and Ke Tswa Hole,” Jakarumba told Drum in a previous interview.

They are definitely making a comeback, group member Spikiri, real name Mandla Daniel Mofokeng, said in an interview during lockdown.

“I am busy producing other artists at Kalawa Jazmee and at the same time I am working on new music, especially as Trompies we will coming out with a new album. The album is finished already it just needs  little touch ups, we are also just focusing on signing new artists. Once artists establish themselves, we give them the opportunity to venture out and have their own companies,” he told Drum at the time.

But it was not meant to be. On Sunday 23 May 2021, record company Kalawa Jazmee released a statement announcing the passing of Trompies member, Emmanuel Majalefa Matsane, fondly known by close friends and fans as Mjokes. He died following a car accident.

Read more | Bleak Christmas for late Trompies star Mjokes’ family as wife pleads for place to stay and donations

Spikiri says his name hasn't been forgotten by South Africans for so many years because he's been true to himself.

“I am me, I am true to myself and that’s all that I can give to people at the end of the day, hearing people still listen to my music makes me happy and seeing them dance to my songs gives me great joy."

“Stay true to yourself and respect your craft, it will take you far”

Music is his life. When he's not in studio, he's grooming and mentoring upcoming artists so that they can prosper in the industry.

Spikiri reveals many of the music greats such as Thebe are busy working on new albums.

“We are in the studio 24 hours, especially now that we are on level 1 and even during the lockdown, we were making music because we don’t want our creativity to run dry,” he says.

He believes that amapiano is the new Kwaito and it is a great way to keep the genre alive and to make sure it evolves with the times.

Kalalwa Jazmee wants to venture into signing artists from other genres such as Maskandi and Gospel, Spikiri shares. They've got a lot of things in the works.

The King Don Father musician walked away with the best kwaito album award at the South African Music Awards in 2019, proving he's still got what it takes.

Read more | Trompies on the ups and downs of fame: ‘We’re lucky to be alive today’

He's also received multiple accolades since he got into the industry more than 30 years ago.

He feels the love and appreciation for his music from South Africans, he says, and he values it a lot.

“I have four lifetime achievement awards and that shows me that South Africa appreciates my contribution to the music industry and radio stations are still playing my songs, I appreciate that.”

Family man

He is dedicated husband and a hands on father to four children, he tells us.

Read more | Kwaito stars Msawawa and Mzambiya on their comeback: ‘We needed to wait for the right time’

“Watching my children grow has been amazing. It's such a transition from when they were in diapers to what they are now. Becoming a father changed my outlook on life, I would be out in the studio and would get calls to buy things such as nappies and milk while they were young but watching them grow now has been a great honor for me.

"I would like to add more children to the four then I will be done,” he jokes.

The 55-year-old  says he has raised his children to be humble around others.

He pushes them to go to school more than anything.

“I want my children to be educated and have a plan B to fall back on should they wish to do something creative and in entertainment. But you need to watch out, they are talented, they may be stars too,” he says proudly.

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