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Candy Tsa Mandebele on new album, financial impact of coronavirus

Candy Tsa Mandebele. Picture: Supplied

Candy Tsa Mandebele. Picture: Supplied

Published Apr 2, 2020


When Candy 'Tsa Mandebele' Mokwena set up her independent record label in 2011, she knew she would one day walk away from a contract with a major label and start building her own empire – a dream come true, not only for herself but for all the women in the music industry.

Fast-forward to 2020, and the Limpopo-born vocalist is releasing her third studio album, Still Here under her own record label, Mosekedi Entertainment. After a successful 12 years with Kalawa Jazmee Records, the muso is releasing a 10-track album, which is currently available for pre-order. 

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The album features guitarist and lyricists Bekezela, Skeem Saam actor and musician Clement Maosa, Mafikizolo’s long-time dancer and singer Cedrick Tsongaboy, love songs maestro Henny C and Mr Brown.

Drum Pope produced most of the songs while Afrikan Roots and newcomers Tshegofatso Mothapo and Fumani Mahlale added their magical touch.

Mokwena says: “I’m so excited, I can’t wait for my superfans to hear what I have in store for them. These are the people who’ve supported me through my musical journey and his album is my way of thanking them for their continuous love and support.”

On the inspiration behind her new album, Mokwena says: “When I started acting a lot of my fans thought I was leaving music, so this album is a reminder that music is, and will always be, my first love, hence I titled it "Still Here".

“And the message is clear – I can heal the world through my music. And that’s what I hope this album will do, especially now when the world is fighting this coronavirus pandemic. Here’s a new sound, it’s fresh. It’s lively... a fusion of indigenous Afro-soul, house and a bit of pop.”

The 49-year-old also touches on the financial impact on the entertainment industry following the president’s decision to enforce a national lockdown: “The world’s in trouble and it’s very sad. It takes me back to when I was diagnosed with diabetes type 2. I thought it was the end of the world until I found a way

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to manage it through medication and healthy diet.

“Though the shutdown will impact everyone in South Africa, I think it’ll hit us, the musicians, actors and everyone in the entertainment industry even harder, because our income is based on the gigs. But we’re thankful to our government for taking these necessary measures to ensure the safety of everyone,” said Mokwena.

She also urges the government to put measures in place to minimise the strain on the entertainment industry. I’d like for the government and Minister of Sport, Arts and Culture, Nathi Mthethwa, to assist the artists.

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“We’re not asking for money, but we suggest the government speaks to the banks to give us at least a three month payment holiday, especially on our bonds and cars, so they don’t get repossessed.

“These cars are ones that carry us and our bands to different venues around the country to perform and earn our salaries. Without them we’re going to suffer a great loss.”

Candy Tsa Mandebele. Picture: Supplied

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Mokwena also cleared any rumours that she left Kalawa on a sour note. 

She explains:“There is no bad blood between me and Kalawa. I sat down with Oskido and said 'the time has arrived for me to grant another young artist an opportunity to learn and experience what I have acquired here at Kalawa. Oscar gave me his blessings and I will forever be grateful."

"Still Here" is currently available on all digital music platforms. 

*The album will officially drop on April 10.

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