streetkid strikes gold

Edward Tsumele

Edward Tsumele

A Hillbrow street kid, Mthokozise "Masaka" Madlala, has hit gold with the release of his debut album called Saka Lam Uneking.

Masaka, who was born in Durban in 1996, has been living on and off the streets of Durban and Hillbrow since 2001, is now over the moon.

"I was helped by Mike Maswanganye of CCP records, who used his own money to record the CD," Madlala says. "He bought costumes for me and my fellow musician Bhekane (Buthelezi) to use on stage."

He and Bhekane have been friends since 2001 in Durban.

"I left home in 2001 for the streets because my mother was living with my stepfather, who was always drunk and abusive.

"I lived on the Durban streets for three years and until 2004 and then Bhekane and I decided to come Johannesburg.

"We have since been living in Claim Street in Hillbrow."

But Masaka says with the release of the album he and his friend want to start a new life.

The response to his musical talent has been positive so far.

He performed recently on the Constitution Hill in Johannesburg.

A Hillbrow policeman, Wandile Ntombela, is helping the two boys by keeping their possessions safe at his home while they eke out a living on the streets - and work on their new album.

"We want to show other streets kids that living on the streets does not mean the end of the road," Masaka says.

"We know the streets well and how rough they are. That is why we are working hard to turn our lives around by using our God-given talent to sing."

The two say the money they make with busking helps put food on their table.

"We do not steal," he says. " If we don't have enough to eat we ask for the leftovers of diners at a nearby chicken outlet," Masaka says.