Ngobese sisters split from Izingane

Patience Bambalele

Patience Bambalele

After a successful 15 years in the music industry, multi-platinum selling female maskandi group Izingane Zoma is crumbling.

Two of the group's three singers - Tholakele and Bongekile Ngobese - have left in a huff.

Sources close to the band say the Ngobese sisters became gatvol after a royalty dispute with their producers.

The row between the producers and the two is said to have started two weeks ago when the group was about to go to the studio to record their 15th album.

As a result the album was delayed and the producers had to use lead singer Thandoluni Phungula alone.

The album, Obama, was released this week.

When approached about the issue Bongekile Ngobese admitted that they were no longer part of the bestselling maskandi group.

"There has been this animosity between us. The issue has been money," she said.

Asked what took them so long to realise that this was happening, she said: "We prayed and thought that things would get better but unfortunately they did not."

She also revealed that they never signed a contract with the Izingane Zoma Recording Company.

"We feel the group is making a lot of money and we should be getting a lot of more," Bongekile said. "We are certainly not satisfied with our share

"We have hired a lawyer to investigate if there is foul play in the matter."

Ngobese confirmed that all three of them had gone to the lawyer but Phungula did not want to be associated with the case

"She went back and recorded the album under Izingane Zoma," Bongekile said.

Attempts to get comment from Tholakele and Phungula proved fruitless. Their phones were off.

Their producer, Shobeni Khuzwayo, did not want to be drawn into the matter.

"I don't want to talk about the matter," he insisted. "As far as I know we are still negotiating with them."

Izingane Zoma is one of the leading maskandi groups in the country. Over the years they have popularised this music form, taking it from its traditional rural origins to the urban areas.