Maskandi icon passes on

Patience Bambalele

Patience Bambalele

Maskandi musician Mfihleni Roland Mkhize, popularly known as Ikhansela, has died.

Mkhize, an icon in the maskandi industry, had been sick since June. He apparently had a boil in his groin. On December 26 the boil became septic and he was rushed to Helen Joseph Hospital where he died the following day.

With 25 successful albums under his belt, he was one of the best-selling maskandi artists. Most of his albums achieved gold or platinum status.

His recent album Ingadlangadla was released last month and has already achieved gold status.

Born in Mvoti, Greytown, KwaZulu-Natal in 1963, Mkhize was one of the most talented singers, producers and composers of this genre. With his mellow voice he was able to tell stories of love, poverty, politics and his personal experiences through music.

His music career started at a young age after he learnt to play the guitar. When he first came to Johannesburg in 1984, he worked as a teller at Trust Bank. He was discovered by Sipho Bhengu of Mango Groove. Moses Dlamini, who used to manage Soul Brothers, helped him to get a recording deal at Moonshine Records.

His debut was released in 1985 and was titled Amalombo. The album sold more than 50000 copies.

Other albums that Mkhize released include Izwi,Siza Nkosi, Ivila and Ungumzalwane Onjani and Ithemba Lam.

Mkhize did not only focus on his solo career, he also formed groups such as Ikhansela No JBC, Ikhansela Band, Iqili, Amaphiko Entokozo and Ikati Nezethenjwa.

Maskandi promoter Michael Mthiya said yesterday: "Khansela was a close friend and I was also his promoter. He was dedicated to music and enjoyed working with people."

The singer is survived by his mother, wife and 10 children. He will be buried on Saturday in Mvoti.