Mandoza (real name: Mduduzi Edmund Tshabalala) was born in Zola, a part of Soweto so presumably ‘Tsotsi Yase Zola’ is about being a gangster from that part of the township. After a stint in prison for stealing a car as a youngster, he formed the group Chiskop who were soon discovered by Arthur Mofakate, who is credited with recording the first kwaito hit in the form of ‘Kaffir’ (featured on this list a good while back). Mandoza would go on to become one of the leading acts of the kwaito scene.
‘Tsotsi Yase Zola’ is a dedcidedly dance-able to track, featuring the pounding kwaito beat. Some almost jazzy keyboard sticks its head into the track every now and then while Mandoza’s gruff, gangster voice shout-raps the lyrics. It would certainly have had the people dancing in the shebeens and clubs in the late part of the first decade of the new millennium.
Kwaito is a bit of an acquired taste, I think. The dance beat can be a bit repetitive if you are just listening to it while sitting at home. But this is music for dancing to, it is not for sitting around listening to and appreciating its finer qualities. Based on this assessment, ‘Tsotsi Yase Zola’ is a fine kwaito track. It has all the ingredients to make you dance like a gangster.
Where to find it:
Champion – Mandoza (2007), CCP Records, CDCCP2 (WB) 089