Winning comes naturally

Edward Tsumele

Edward Tsumele

Hanyani Solomon Maluleke's star keeps rising. He is one of the most consistent exponents of traditional Xitsonga music and the industry recognises that fact.

In 2006 he won the traditional category of the popular Munghana Lonene FM music awards and he is about to repeat the feat.

Maluleke, pictured, who goes by the stage name of Mr Jambatani, has been nominated in the Best Male Artist category.

"I hope that I am going to win again because I know that I have a lot of support from fans from as far as Mozambique who are going to vote for me," Mr Jambatani says.

"One of the reasons for this is that I composed a song about xenophobia in 2006, long before the recent violence erupted. It was prophetic in a way and many people connect easily with my music because of that."

A senior government official by day and a traditional music exponent in his spare time, Mr Jambatani is one of the most focussed musicians around.

His short track record in this genre is as exemplary as it is encouraging to other young musicians.

"I hold a degree in public administration from the Durban Institute of Technology, so I do not do music because I am not educated," he says. "It is in my blood. It is like being an educated sangoma."

The awards ceremony is scheduled for Gallagher Estate, north of Johannesburg, on November 28.

Mr Jambatani has been nominated for his album N'wa Mapfotlosela Molume 4 (Mina na Mugawula), his fourth release in his short, yet successful career as a solo artist.

The album was released in August through new recording label Kick Ass Music Productions.

It is no wonder that the album has been nominated. It is lively, rich in rhythm and traditional idiom, a potential success formula in traditional music.

He says: "I have dedicated the album to my father who passed away shortly before it was released. May his soul rest in peace.

"He was my pillar of strength. I will always love him."

Mr Jambatani was born in Mhinga Village in Limpopo. He borrowed this stage name from his grandfather, who was called Jambatani.

"It means that I will be able to pass any obstacle in my life. And, yes, it's true, because I have already managed to get this far in my musical career though it is very difficult to make it in the industry."

Mr Jambatani started performing at the young age of seven.

Today he plays the keyboards, lead guitar, sings and even writes songs.