I found solace, redemption through music – Mduduzi Ncube

Ex-addict grateful to work under Big Zulu

Masego Seemela Online journalist
Afro-pop singer Mduduzi Ncube on life before the fame.
Afro-pop singer Mduduzi Ncube on life before the fame.
Image: Supplied.

Rising Afro-pop singer Mduduzi Ncube credits God and finding healing through music as his saving grace to break free from a dark period of drug addiction. 

The 26-year-old Isiginci hitmaker opened up to Sowetan on Monday about finding redemption and it started with when he was gifted a guitar in 2017. 

At the age of 15, the musician from Hammarsdale, KwaZulu-Natal, found himself going down the wrong path after he started glue-sniffing and it turned into substance dependence that lasted four years. 

“Peer pressure will make you do things. I started sniffing glue from 2013 to 2017. I was addicted to it and in a way, I had given my life to the streets even though I had a home,” he said.

“My life started taking form when I met Jesus at church. I remember waking up and making the decision to give my life to God and I haven’t looked back since. Instead of sniffing the drug, I started playing my guitar that a friend of mine gifted me – it became my new passion and helped me to stop sniffing the glue. I’ve been clean for almost seven years now.” 

Image: Supplied.

In 2019, he got his big break after DJ Tira discovered him. He went on to record two songs with the popular music producer, with one of the songs featuring songstress Berita.

However, things went south for Ncube when the Covid pandemic hit, but he remained clean.

“I grew up as more of a loner. I found music to be my hero and I’d always sing whenever I’d sit alone in the classroom during break,” he said.

“I remember a girl once told me I had a soft singing voice and somehow that gave me courage and made me realise that I probably could sing. This compliment also encouraged me to sing in assembly… which is how I honed my talent.

“When I met Tira and started recording music, I thought my life would get better but Covid hit me hard and I had to go back to hustling back on the streets but this time I told myself I wouldn’t go back to sniffing glue, instead I’ll keep a strong faith in God and sang in the streets until something happened.” 

In 2020, after hitting yet another rock bottom, he dropped rapper Big Zulu a direct message on Instagram and to his shock he found himself as the first artist to be signed to his independent label Inkabi Records.

Image: Supplied.

“When I had to go back to the streets in 2020, people would often ask me, ‘You remind me of Mduduzi who collaborated with DJ Tira’ and I’d be ashamed to say, ‘I’m the guy you’re speaking about’. However, I’m glad I met Big Zulu. He saw the talent in me and we went and made good music in the studio,” he said. 

Ncube now remains on top of his game and recently released Myekele Ahambe featuring the soulful singer Nomfundo Moh. He hopes to become an international star. 

“I see myself collaborating with Ed Sheeran and Justin Bieber. With our music being recognised… anything is possible,” he said.

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