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If you were to bump into Dumi Mkokstad (pictured) on the street, you would never guess that he is a gospel star. In fact, with his ties and cardigans, you could mistake him for a banker or an insurance salesman.
But at 22, he has an incredible eight albums to his name and he feels as if he has just started out. For a child star, Mkokstad has done really well for himself.
“I started singing when I was only nine, after my mother encouraged me,” said Mkokstad.
Like most gospel artists, he started singing in the church, but unlike most of them, his talent was incredible from a tender age and he was destined to grow up in the music business.
“I remember one time when I was about 10 and I was invited to sing at a funeral in the Eastern Cape, where we grew up. As I sang I didn’t know Hamilton Kubashe was also attending,” he said.
After an impressive performance, Mkokstad’s family were approached by Kubashe, who was a music promoter, to chat about a possible future for the young musician in Joburg.
After his parents agreed, the rest is history.
That was in 2000, and several albums later, Mkokstad is back with his latest offering, the 12-track Mbize uJehova.
“I had worked with the late Big Boy Mlangeni over the years and I remember being very low when I wrote Mbize uJehova. The song basically means to call God if you need to have peace and peace of mind,” he explained.
Save for two tracks, Mkokstad wrote every track on Mbize uJehova.
“I believe I have matured in my sound and I am thankful that my producer, Mxolisi Mhlongo, allowed me to have some creative freedom. I decided to write most of the hymns from my church and give them interesting twists,” he said.
The completion of the album has seen Mkokstad travel to East London, Venda, Pietermaritzburg, Durban and Cape Town.
“I still have plans to go to other places in the country because people really love it,” he said.
To check on how well he is doing, Mkokstad visits music stores in the cities that he is performing in to see if his music is in demand.
“On Facebook people tell me that they have the CD and I believe it because when I get to the music stores, in most cases I do not find copies of my CD because they are sold out. The salespeople tell me that they are waiting for new orders,” he said.
As if that’s not enough, this album has been available for only a few months, but when the artist is on stage and singing the new tracks, his fans sing along to every song.
“My album is only four months old, so I am very humbled that people are already aware of it,” he said.
With the clean boy image and hints of gold in his teeth and the superstar life, you know the ladies are bound to throw themselves at the man, but he has other ideas.
“I never hide the fact that I am a born-again Christian.
“I get girls coming to take pictures and stuff, but it ends there. There is no girl in my life and I will have to wait until I am ready to marry,” he said.
• Mbize uJehova is now in stores.