Songs for Zuma

Patience Bambalele

Patience Bambalele

With their latest album Amazwi Ka Shaka, popular female maskandi group Izingane Zoma makes no bones about the fact that they support Jacob Zuma.

Like most controversial albums, this one is selling like hot fat cakes on a cold winter's day.

Endowed with the Midas touch, all Izingane Zoma's albums turned gold or platinum.

And their current offering is no exception. Amazwi Ka Shaka achieved double platinum status within a week of being released.

Made up of Thandoluni Phungula and sisters Tholakele and Bongekile Ngobese, Izingane Zoma is a group with a mission. Dubbed the queens of maskandi, Izingane Zoma is without a doubt one of the best-selling female groups in Mzansi.

Since they released their debut album in 1993, the women have enjoyed enormous success in this male-dominated field.

Bongekile said: "We have to admit it has been a long and lonely journey as female artists. Since we started 14 years ago, we have really grown as artists. Our approach to music has matured and we have a better understanding of the genre."

With their distinctive traditional sound, the group has taken maskandi to another level.

Amazwi Ka Shaka is refreshing from a group that is no stranger to controversy. The album is a summary of what happened in Polokwane. Their hope to see Zuma elected did materialise.

Thandoluni said: "We continued with the Zuma story and we predicted the outcome of the conference. Fortunately, it happened.

"But we don't only sing about politics, we also talk about love in our songs," Thandoluni said.

The outfit has been criticised for declaring their support for Zuma publicly, but Izingane Zoma has vehemently denied being members of the ANC.

Tholakele said: "I know that people think we are ANC members, but that is not true because we do not belong to any political party.

"As musicians we compose songs that talk about issues in our society. This time it happens to be Zuma."

In their 15th offering, they have featured gospel-veteran Vuyo Mokoena to give the album more weight.

Determined to grow in leaps and bounds, Izingane Zoma started their own label in 1998 and has also produced a number of groups. But that was not all.

They also ventured into business and are the proud owners of 15 taxis that operate between the East Rand and Johannesburg.

Bongekile said: "We decided to establish the taxi business because we do not want to die paupers, like so many other musicians do.

"The taxi business was started as something to fall back on when the sun is no longer shining for us as musicians," Bongekile said.