Hanging out with Zakes Bantwini

The hitmaker has emerged as a defender of the local dance scene

Osama hitmaker, Zakes Bantwini.
Osama hitmaker, Zakes Bantwini.
Image: Supplied.

In the face of the amapiano onslaught, Zakes Bantwini has emerged as a defender of the local dance scene.

He has swept the nation to its feet with Osama, his riotous smash hit, reminding all that the man from KwaMashu in KZN still has the moves. 

On reinvention

Always be a student. I’m not an expert on reinvention, but I will say that you need to allow yourself to learn.

Open yourself up to collaborations. Ensure that you work with as many people as possible, especially new artists.

Let your work be topical. Move with the times without losing yourself. Be receptive to new ideas but stay authentic — that’s how you will remain relevant. Learn, but always be yourself.

On the business of music

Read your contracts. Understand what you’re signing up for.

Never stop learning. Keep learning about the changes. We are now in the digital age, and for many years we didn’t know what it would look like, and we are all still trying to figure it out.

Leave the business of music to the boardroom. Never discuss your business at social gatherings — that’s the biggest mistake musicians make. No one should know how you move and what your next step will be. People will say stuff that will influence you to take a direction you were not planning on and you may start to doubt your team.

On the recipe of a hit

Musicians don’t make hits. It’s the people, fans, and supporters who make hits.

I can give you three tips on making a good record — get the right progression, find a relatable subject you want to sing or rap about, and have a sing-along in your song.

On money

Save your money, don’t spend it on unnecessary things.

Find the best financial advisor and have a personal relationship with them. Make sure that you share your life plans and financial goals with them, in terms of where you want to be and where you’d like to invest.

There’s a difference between budgeting and saving. For everything you want to do you have to budget, save, and then budget again. Don’t spend without budgeting, so you at least know if you have overspent. It’s important to know how much you spend on different things, such as groceries and entertainment, and to know how much you will be saving a month.

Image: Supplied.

On fatherhood and marriage

Raising a child requires more than just money. It’s important to bear that in mind as a father. Always be present in your kid’s life, as much as you can.

Let your kids enjoy your presence. Try to have fun with your children, be their friend. We grew up being scared of our fathers because they were made out to be monsters.

This is our opportunity to change things. Your kids should respect and love you, not fear you. If they fear you, they won’t be able to ask you for anything or have a conversation with you.

I don’t qualify to share thoughts on marriage. It needs marriage counsellors and therapists. All I will say is just love your partner.


On style

Wear something comfortable  — comfort is a priority at all times.  

Wear tailored clothes, but don’t allow clothes to wear you, you must wear them. Visit a tailor and make sure your clothes fit you well.

Don’t be scared to play with colour. Don’t allow people to tell you that as a man or a woman you can’t wear certain colours. You can wear anything as long as the combination and colour palette is good.

On grooming

Make sure you do your facials, your hair and nails, your manicure and pedicure. For goodness sake, wear that cologne. There is nothing wrong with grooming yourself and taking care of your looks.

As men, we have been told for too long that we are not supposed to do certain things, but I encourage you to take care of your appearance because the body needs it.