Out of the blue, TDK Macassette is so pretty in pink

Thandeka Mkhwanazi, who is better known as TDK Macassette
Thandeka Mkhwanazi, who is better known as TDK Macassette
Image: Veli Nhlapo

The future is gqom. The future is female and her name is TDK Macassette.

Affectionately known by her other moniker Gqom Barbie, she is currently the name on everyone's lips. Youngins (the term the youth have coined for themselves) are obsessed with her.

"Oh my gosh! It's TDK Macassette. I love her," one youngin gushes as he spots her in a crowd at Kalawa Jazmee Record's 25th anniversary party.

The 25-year-old firecracker exploded onto the music scene when she was featured on the original version of DJ Maphorisa's hit IWalk Ye Phara in January. That was before she was controversially replaced on the remix by songbird Moonchild Sanelly a few months down the line.

But there is no denying the original version is the one that resonated more with youngins. Almost all the viral videos of pupils in their school uniforms doing the IWalk Ye Phara dance challenge feature the original version.

"That was then and this is now. I was very surprised when Moonchild did the remix. The second version never really worried me, because everyone knows the first version," she pauses as she carefully chooses her words.

DJ Maphorisa and TDK have been embroiled in a nasty war of words over the remix during the past month.

"So it didn't worry me, but I was surprised.

"As for my relationship with DJ Maphorisa, I have no hard feelings," she continues.

TDK Macassette
TDK Macassette
Image: Veli Nhlapo

Real name Thandeka Mkhwanazi, it's hard to miss the KwaZulu-Natal-born supernova in a crowded room.

When I first meet her she looks pretty in pink, so much so that she resembles cotton candy and suddenly I understand why some adults often jokingly threaten to devour adorable babies.

Her bleached blonde wig completes her porcelain doll transformation.

She possesses that Nicki Minaj Harajuku style circa 2010, married with Cardi B's sassy sparkle and Babes Wodumo's ingenuity when she first emerged.

"I'm all kinds. I'm vibrant, colourful, hard at work, a hustler, passionate and dedicated. I'm excited about what's to come. I'm all about fun," she shares.

"Right now, my project is the gqom Barbie [brand] and I need to be creative with my colours. But obviously, there is inspiration from some people like Nicki Minaj. I have always looked up to the late Lebo Mathosa's performances."

TDK drops a bombshell and reveals that before music, she was a corporate lady.

DJ Maphorisa discovered her in 2016, when he was booked for a corporate gig she was working on.

"I never pictured myself singing," she says.

"I met up with DJ Maphorisa when my client booked him. After work we were chilled, Maphorisa made me listen to a beat and I was hyped up and just started singing "Goosheshe zomnika".

"Didn't even know what I was saying. Next thing he says 'please record what you said that other day', and I sent it to him. He said he needed me to come up to Joburg and record this thing.

"Before I knew it, I was here."

Following the success of IWalk Ye Phara, Korobela, Yebo and Goosheshe, she is now promoting her gqom anthem Domoroza.

TDK studied public relations and communication management science at Durban University of Technology. She is the middle child of three girls.

"My mom was totally against me going into music, but now that I'm about to graduate, she is warming up to it.

"Now she's over-supportive, she even asks me if I'm being paid for gigs.

"I'm blessed and grateful for the support I'm getting," she said.

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