Mafikizolo. Picture:Nokuthula Mbatha

Munya Vomo

It never rains but pours, in a good way, for Afro-pop duo Mafikizolo. After their hiatus from the music scene, the pair have come out strong, with several awards ceremonies including the Channel Os, the Metros and the South African Music Awards honouring them.

As if that is not enough, the group will also be contesting two prestigious awards, the MTV Africa Music Awards (Mamas) and the BET Awards.

The Mamas had taken a break for a few years, but they return as strong as ever. They will be held in Durban on June 7 and Mafikizolo hope to walk away with some silverware.

“I think it is great that they (Mamas) saw us and liked what we had to offer, enough to have us as nominees. We always joke that just like the Mamas, we had a break as Mafikizolo. The year that the Mamas returned, so did we so it is amazing timing which we feel was only meant to be,” group member Nhlanhla Nciza said.

As romantic as that sounds, Nciza quickly pointed out that she was aware of what was at stake and would not take the competition lightly.

“I think it is going to be a tough night. We are up against Nigerian artists in every category and if history is anything to go by we can agree that Nigerians really get support from their home and the neighbouring countries,” she said.

The musician also addressed the ugly culture of South Africans not voting for their own artists regardless of what competition it is.

“I don’t think it comes from a bad place. I just think as the youngest democracy on the continent, there are still a lot of things we are dealing with before we get to supporting each other. It may be two decades later, but we are still young and finding our feet. Other countries have had a longer time to master that art and now it comes as second nature. I just think that in time we will be proud of our own artists enough to support them when they are in need,” she said.

While that is not a good revelation for their chances at the awards, Nciza felt their product was good not only for South Africans, but even by international standards.

“I would like to believe that we did well (so) that you get people from as far as Nigeria who will sing along to some songs off it. I think it is important to have that cross-pollination in music because it helps us look beyond our own musicians. We support foreign musicians here so it is great when they support us out there. It would be great to have, say, a Nigerian fan say that they like Davido, but they would rather vote for a South African act of their choice. This, in turn, will break the barriers of loyalty that are based on location,” she said.

To promote the Mamas, Mafikizolo are going to Nigeria on the Road To Mama initiative that seeks to build up hype about the ceremony.

“We are looking forward to it. We have been to Lagos several times so it has almost become our second home. They love Khona and they sing along as much as they can, which is comforting. We will be doing some performances with Davido and other artists there,” she explained.

Speaking about Mafikizolo’s nomination at this year’s Black Entertainment Television (BET) awards, Nciza said this one was a big one for them.

“We have never been to Los Angeles and to go there and come back with the award would be amazing. We are honoured that not only has the album got continental success, it has also gone international,” she said.