Mahlo morphs age

Gugu Sibiya

Gugu Sibiya

Limpopo's Jonas Charmer Girl Mahlo, pictured, is the latest artist to resort to gimmicks to stay ahead of the competition.

Intent on attracting fans, Mahlo dresses like an old woman, paints his face pitch black and completes the image with a walking stick.

"I dress like an old woman because even men in suits don't enjoy as much respect as an old woman does.

"People pay attention when an old woman slowly makes her way to the stage. Whether its concern or curiosity, everybody wants to hear her story," says Mahlo.

He says that the plan materialised after much soul searching.

"I started as a street comedian in 1999. In between making people laugh, I raised serious issues of the time.

"After a while, I thought I had to do something to increase the audience numbers. I must say it has worked like a charm."

In those days he called himself Magogo, but after hearing how the men referred to the girls in the audience, he christened himself Charmer Girl.

Now a kwasa kwasa delight, Mahlo starts his shows with comedy then shakes his hips like only the Congolese can. That he has made an impact is evidenced by what they call him: Kwasa Queen.

Mahlo is not the first artist to use this type of creativity to capture the attention of his fans. Nigeria's Afrobeat sensation Lagbaja wears a mask all the time. Sbu Leope's alter ego Mzekezeke and Jamela's Sgonondo did too.

The gimmick seems to intensify the curiosity of the fans.

With his new Kwasa CD, Bophelo Verse One, Mahlo has just upped the stakes. Time will tell if this was a smart or bad business move.