She is the last original member left from the iconic group Mahlathini and the Mahotella Queens.
When her bandmates started getting ill and were unable to do any live performances, Hilda Tloubatla (77) replaced Mildred Mangxola with young singer Amanda Ntuli (35).
The other bandmate, Nobesuthu Mbadu passed on in September at Thelle Mogoerane due to kidney failure and was replaced by Nonkululeko Maseko.
Mahotella Queens now have two new younger members who are excited to be part of the historic group.
“I grew up listening to Mbaqanga music at home. My late grandfather played their music, and I knew of Mahotella Queens but never imagined that I would one day be part of history. I am so honoured,” Amanda says.
Nonkululeko comes from a Gospel music background and says it is an honour to be chosen as one of the singers.
“I always saw myself singing for Joyous Celebration. I thought that would be the epitome of my career, touring the country with them. But joining Mahotella Queens has allowed me to dream bigger. My very first concert with them was in Germany. That was my first time on a flight and that made me realise that nothing is impossible. My peers are shocked that I can fill such big shoes and it is nothing less than an honour,” Nonkuleleko says.
This year, the Mahotella Queens and Big Zulu have been selected to be the ambassadors of the 18th Edition of the Moshito Music Conference and Exhibition taking place from the 8 until 11 December 2021 at the Joburg Theatre (Lesedi Theatre). This year’s theme is The Rebirth of African Music Business and will look at reshaping the Music Discipline because of the Covid-19 Pandemic.
“I am so happy to be honoured as an ambassador while I am still alive,” Hilda says.
“I wish my bandmates would have been here to enjoy the fruits of being appreciated in their own country.”
Having been around since 1964 and having toured the world and performed alongside Michael Jackson, Stevie Wonder, and George Michael to name a few, Hilda says she wishes for Mahotella Queens to exist even after she dies.
“I am healthy without a single illness in my body. I hope to live long enough to see some of the changes happening in the music industry. But I want young people to take over Mahotella Queens even when I am no longer alive. The group needs to live forever and be able to share the history of Africa.”
Hilda says they made it onto the international stage because they were authentically African and her wish if for that to never change.
"Mahotella Queens dresses a certain way, we have a certain demeanor and look, and I want for that to remain the same. This is what attracted people to the group, and nothing should change. The music needs to stay the same even when I am no more,” she says.
Hilda says they want to collaborate more with young artists.
“We have worked with DJ Tira, Cassper Nyovest, and many more, and we are open to keeping the name of Mahotella Queens alive by collaborating with young people and given this opportunity to work with Big Zulu at Moshito means we are still relevant even in our old, yet unique style, nothing will change,” Hilda says.