They have collectively been responsible for some of South Africa’s most popular dance hits. Now, two local kwaito stars and a DJ have turned their attention to the political “decks”.
Eugene Mthethwa, former member of best-selling kwaito quintet Trompies, Arthur Mafokate, a man who holds the crown of “King of Kwaito”, and DJ Siyanda of Metro FM, are South Africa’s newest artists-turned-politicians.
They recently found themselves at the forefront of the country’s political scene in Mangaung, immersed in ANC work.
Mthethwa, a qualified lawyer, spent almost 14 years with Trompies before taking up the position of manager at the Presidential Hotline in 2009.
He first ingratiated himself with the Jacob Zuma-supporting side of the ANC in the run-up to the Polokwane conference, releasing pro-Zuma songs such as Halala ANC.
Mthethwa is now a member of the Kyalami branch, Ward 94, in Gauteng and his involvement in politics is through his role as general secretary of the Creative Workers Union of SA, a Cosatu affiliate.
“I have opted to hold on to the ANC and not sell my soul to the unprincipled leaders whose politics change with times,” he said.
“I will openly endorse the ANC government by voting ANC religiously until my last gasp on Earth.
“I believe that it is by active participation that you are able to understand the challenges faced and thereafter becoming part of the solution rather than mourners.”
He added: “I must admit that my tightly held secret of ducking out from active participation in the music industry is true. I must indicate, though, that it has been a very hard decision to take but one that I hope all my fans will in due time understand and accept.”
Mafokate, who shot to prominence in 1994 with hit single Kaffir and later produced hits like Mnike and Sika Lekhekhe (colloquially meaning “cut the cake”), confirmed he was now an ANC member.
The Hlokoloza crooner, the owner of 999 Music Entertainment, said he had not turned his back on the music industry but had found a new home in the ANC in particular and in politics in general.
“I am a member of the ANC, that’s no secret, and I do work for the ANC,” he said this week.
Mafokate’s protégé, the scantily dressed Chomee, is often seen performing and gyrating her hips at ANC functions.
DJ Siyanda, real name Siyanda Shabalala, was first seen during Zuma’s legal woes and court appearances from 2006, when he became a prominent feature among the revellers and supporters.
The mover and shaker on the Durban party scene is the chairman of the ANC’s Ward 74 branch in Lamontville.
Siyanda was recently elected to this position after a protracted process ahead of the Mangaung ANC conference this month.
Ward 74 is also former eThekwini regional chairman Bheki Cele’s branch.
Born in Lamontville, bred in Umlazi, Siyanda started playing music at the age of 13, and by his 14th birthday he was making a name for himself at local clubs.
He is famous for his 2006 runaway hit Iwewe, which was controversially interpreted as a sex song.