Coke nearly destroyed me, says Mandoza

By Time of article published Nov 15, 2003

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By Tendani Tsedu

Cocaine nearly destroyed Mandoza's career as a kwaito musician. Mandoza, real name Mduduzi Tshabalala, admitted that he was no longer taking his job seriously because drugs "made me feel like I owned the world".

"I was getting out of hand, I was not serious with my career any more and my management was starting to suspect something, so I just confessed," he said.

His confession saw him being taken to a drug rehabilitation centre in Cape Town where he spent three weeks to get clean. He came out last week.

"Now I'm feeling great. At the centre they taught us to be honest with ourselves, to face reality and not to hide in drugs."

Mandoza said the pressure he was getting as a solo artist, especially from the media, was the reason he turned to drugs. Mandoza is also part of kwaito group Chiskop.

There were many musicians still sniffing the white powder up their noses and spending mega bucks on the stuff. For proof of this, said Mandoza, just go to some of the Jozi's night clubs.

"At the clubs is where it's happening, that's where the dealing takes place. I used to spend R2 000 a week on cocaine only. This is very dangerous stuff, especially for spoilt kids who carry a lot of pocket money. My kind of drugs were the expensive kind, but there are some you could get at about R50, so kids are also in danger," he said.

Drugs also brought problems to his home. Mandoza said he was no longer communicating with his mother and his girlfriend.

"My girlfriend knew I was taking drugs, and there was a big distance between us and my mother. Drugs make you feel like the world is yours and you don't care about others," he said.

Asked what up-and-coming musicians could do to escape drugs, Mandoza said he was not ready to give advice yet as he was still getting used to the idea of not being high.

"For now I'm focusing on my recovery. Maybe in the long term I'll have something to tell them, but for now I don't want to sound like a saint."

Just like Kabelo Mabalane of TKZee, Mandoza has his own studio to keep himself busy to beat the craving. But his fans will be disappointed to hear that he is not planning to release another hit song soon.

"Maybe at Easter," he said.

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