Shot, beaten and left for dead, Mthokozisi Ndaba had every reason to go off the rails but his faith and talent led him to the top 10 of Idols SA.
After wowing the judges at the Durban auditions earlier this year, Ndaba was at home in KwaMashu preparing for the gruelling theatre week section of the singing competition.
“I was sitting outside with my guitar and laptop when I suddenly felt something hitting me on the head. Next thing, I woke up in hospital.”
Knocked unconscious, Ndaba was also assaulted and shot in both legs, and his laptop and guitar stolen before his neighbours came to his aid.
After a week in hospital, he asked for early discharge to go Johannesburg for the next leg of Idols SA.
Battered but determined not be sent home like when he first entered Idols SA in 2015, he took to the stage, not telling the producers and judges he was recovering from an attempt on his life.
“I strongly believed that 2017 was the year God had arranged and allocated good things for my life, I couldn’t miss that opportunity.”
He had to come clean when his difficulty moving was noticed. He received medical attention and despite aches, pains and incessant headaches, made it into the top 10.
While he is competing and his 29-year-old sister Londiwe is away working as a chef at a game reserve, the Ndaba home is locked up.
“That house holds so much sadness and bad memories and now I’m a little scared after the attack. I also lost my son Ntandoyenkosi in 2013. But on the other side, there is happiness and good memories of my family, it is my home. I am not going anywhere,” said Ndaba.
His talent was discovered in that house.
“When I was 10 years old, my mother (who has also passed on) would have people over practising. When they left I would imitate the leader Excellence Nxumalo. They told him and he asked me to join his gospel group to sing soprano.”
Since then, Ndaba sang with various groups, in church, at school – which gave him the opportunity to sing in England – and more recently, as a solo artist.
Music became a career option during a two-year gap after failing matric. “I went back to grade 11 and ended up matriculating with an exemption.”
He also studied guitar at the Ekhaya Multi Arts Centre.
Ndaba attributes his success at Idols SA this time, to the lessons he learned during in his short-lived stint in season 11 which taught him to take music seriously.
“I also want to give back to KwaMashu. I dream of doing a TV show called Save Me from Me, where we help young people from the township connect with the right people to get help from substance abuse.”