TKZee to play at Blankets and Wine
Posted Thursday, May 31 2012 at 18:42
Kwaito is the South African township music whose origins can be traced to the birth of the new democratic nation in 1994. The name itself is said to have originated from a word in Afrikaans meaning “hot”
This sound was born when DJs in Johannesburg brought down some house music to a slower tempo of 110 beats per minute.
Kwaito is the music that defines the generation that came of age after apartheid and many liberation chants found their way into kwaito songs.
The ruling Africa National Congress helped popularise kwaito by taking the music to political rallies where the crowds would buy the music after the events.
Trendsetting artistes like TKZee made music that spoke of the pressing social ills that faced young people from the impoverished townships: unemployment, violence, crime and racism.
From the late 1990s, TKZee was the biggest selling kwaito group and many fans consider them to have been among the most influential music groups in post-independent South Africa.
The name of the group is taken from the initials of three high school friends: Tokollo “Magesh” Tshabalala, Kabelo “Bouga Luv” Mabalane and Zwai Bala.
While Zwai attended the Royal Academy of Music in Scotland and was grounded on classical music, Kabelo and Tokollo grew up on the edges of the township of Soweto.
The three met while attending private school in Johannesburg and their love for music led them to form the group, which would explode onto the scene in November 1997.
The arrival of kwaito also signified the arrival of a young, assertive and educated lot of black musicians who, unlike the previous generations of Africans marginalised by apartheid, were able to navigate their way around the music industry, signing recording contracts and earning royalties.
Ironically, TKZee have always insisted that their music is not strictly kwaito, but a combination of house music with shades of African jazz, R&B and reggae and hip-hop grooves, which they call “Guz” music.
The 1998 release of the single “Shibobo” featuring South African footballer Benni McCarthy, made TKZee a household name, not just at home but in many part of Africa where it lit the flames of the kwaito brand.
The irresistible and catchy single, whose title means to dribble or passing the ball between someone’s legs, went on to sell more than 100,000 copies in just a single month.
It also coincided with South Africa’s first ever participation in the FIFA World Cup.