A matured sound

WHILE most of his peers are crazy about house, gospel and kwatio music, Nkosinathi Mbatha has opted for a matured sound.

WHILE most of his peers are crazy about house, gospel and kwatio music, Nkosinathi Mbatha has opted for a matured sound.

Mbatha, who is known as Mashwabana in the music game, is one of the few young people who are making sure that mbaqanga does not die.

With the beautiful voice he has and dancing ability, one could only imagine Mbatha as an Afro-pop singer, instead of mbaqanga.

"I have been lucky to be exposed to all kinds of music - from kwaito to maskandi. I grew up dancing but I always had mbaqanga in my mind. I was inspired by the late Thitsha Nzuza."

The singer, who comes from Nongoma in KwaZulu-Natal, has just launched his solo career with an album, Ithemba Lami. Like someone who has worked with other bands, Mbatha's album showcases maturity.

Working with an experienced producer like Moses Ngwenya has enhanced the album's production.

The album boasts messages that are directed at youth. Take the song Usizi, a beautiful ballad that talks about how young people are dying at an early age. In the song he also questions that if the youth are dying, who will rule the country.

"When I am writing a song I try to look at issues that are critical at that moment. I use my music to bring awareness."

Mbatha came to Joburg in 1994 looking for a job and stayed in Springs on the East Rand. While working he joined small bands that were playing mbaqanga music. From there he was introduced to one of the famous mbaqanga groups Ofeleba.

"I delayed to pursue my solo career because I wanted to learn more about the industry. I also wanted exposure and I have made my name as a backing singer," Mbatha says.

He is still backing Ofeleba and gospel singer Bonakele. He also creates choreography for many mbaqanga groups.

X