Uncle Vinny. Picture: Instagram
Uncle Vinny. Picture: Instagram

Who is Uncle Vinny and why is he a big deal?

By Buhle Mbonambi Time of article published May 2, 2021

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I shook my head in disbelief as I watched the video of youngsters teeming in Braamfontein.

Few had their masks on. Many had drinks on their hands. I tried to check the date stamp. April 24, 2021.

WTF are these kids thinking, I wondered. And who on earth is Uncle Vinny and why have all those Gen Zs packed the streets of Braamfontein?

It turns out I wasn't the only one asking what was happening and in that moment, I felt old.

Old because I was clearly out of the loop and had missed out on who is probably one of the biggest stars of amapiano. And his name is Uncle Vinny.

A few years ago I used to ask my now 13 year-old nephew about the songs he and his friends listened to, were dancing to and loved.

He was my link to what was really happening in the grassroots. What the streets were loving. See, he was still in primary school and their school taxi played all the latest songs.

Radio was outdated, as far as he was concerned.

Armed with the Shazam app, he would identify songs and keep a list of them for me, just waiting for me to ask what song was popping.

He did it because he loved appearing cleverer than me and also because he knew he'd get something from me.

I'm not as close as I used to be with him. I’m no longer the cool uncle as he’s a teenager now and couldn't be bothered with answering my questions. And so I had to find another source.

Vinny is probably the most famous 19-year-old in the country. And his fans are just as famous.

From Bonang Matheba, Cassper Nyovest and Major League, to Julius Malema, Sizwe Dhlomo and Riky Rick, he has transfixed so many people and it has led us to ask - who is this Uncle Vinny and why he did he manage to fill Braamfontein so much, that the police had to come stop the party, arrest a couple of people and risk so many people contracting Covid-19?

MTVBase VJs, Uncle Vinny, Shamiso, Nomalanga “The Flame” Shozi, Tshego Koke and Farieda “Pharoahfi” Metsileng. Picture: Supplied

Kabelo Vincent Ndlovu is a 19 year-old MTV Base VJ and social media sensation people can’t get enough of. From his signature dance moves to amapiano songs, that immediately go viral and are copied by other performers; featuring on music videos of artists like Riky Rick and Major League DJs, he has charted his own way in the entertainment industry.

A few months ago he was a in matric and almost a year ago was being interviewed by rapper-turned-media practitioner, Slikour, who also wanted to know what he is all about.

He is what one may call a self-made person.

A former presenter on Hillbrow Radio Station, Vinny creates event concepts and hosts these events, which leads to him meeting people who will, as the kids say, “put him on”.

A content creator, he has managed to build his brand around being a good time guy, and party starter, which has allowed him to garner a massive fan base that now eats out the palms of his hands.

Uncle Vinny. Picture: Instagram

This has lead to him being seen on the line-up of Riky Rick’s Cotton Fest, Nasty C’s Ivyson Tour and the SA Hip Hop Awards.

In 2019 he hosted his event, Rodeo, which was all about giving his peers a platform to express their talents and for them to come together to “experience ... good vibes and a day filled with fashion.”

He attended the National School of the Arts, which helped him realise that he needed to quickly find his lane in the arts.

His TikTok channel boasts more than 57 000 followers, with his content receiving more than 150 000 views. His dance moves are so popular, musicians want to collaborate with him so they reach the all important Gen Z market.

He is a true Gen Z – he’s entrepreneurial, understands the importance of being an adept user of social media and technology, is not afraid of going for his dreams and doesn’t really care what other people think, he will do it if he believes it will make him a success.

My nephew eventually responded to my message and summed up why exactly Vinny is so loved. “He is the coolest person right now. He’s real and he’s not about getting approval from old people. That’s why we all like him.”

Even though the throng of fans who filled Braamfontein shocked me, I understand why people are so enamoured with him. He is a star.

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