12 Of The Best Musicians In The Kwaito Music Scene

12 Of The Best Musicians In The Kwaito Music Scene

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If you’re not familiar with kwaito, it’s a house music scene in South Africa that arose in the 1990s around the end of the apartheid. With a newly elected Nelson Mandela in office, many South African turned to kwaito to celebrate and delight in their newfound lifestyle and freedom. Kwaito is considered mostly apolitical, focusing instead on dance and happiness. But not everyone adheres to that. Here are 12 best musicians in the kwaito music scene.

Sources: Sahistory.org.co.za, Southafricaproject.web.unc.edu, Wikipedia.org, thezimbabwean.co


1. Mandoza

A troubled youth, Mandoza cleaned up his act after his release from juvenile prison by joining a kwaito band, Chiskop. He eventually went on a solo music path. His work includes many political messages.

brenda fassie

2. Brenda Fassie

In a male-dominated music scene, Brenda Fassie had to overcome barriers to become one of the few female musicians in kwaito. She often sang about post-apartheid lifestyle and the freedom that comes with it. Sadly, she overdosed in 2004 after a lifelong cocaine addiction.

dj oskido

3. DJ Oskido

Named as one of the best kwaito musicians according to the TheZimbabwean.co, DJ Oskido was reared in a small town near Pretoria and developed his love for deejaying. He played host to many of South Africa’s best party scenes with crazy kwaito beats.


4. Zola

Hailing from Soweto, Zola is not only a kwaito musician but a poet and actor. He has be likened to a South African version of Tupac Shakur. Much of his music is gangster themed and violent but Zola said this delivers a strong message to young kids in his hometown to not get involved with gangs.

danny k

5. Danny K

This South African singer was inspired by Nelson Mandela-era kwaito singers and followed their footsteps. He released 5 albums and has been touring ever since.


6. TKZee

This trio music group named their band after their own initials — Tokollo, Kabelo and Zwai. They are known to do covers of other songs including Joni Mitchell’s “Big Yellow Taxi” but with a kwaito twist.

bongo maffin

7. Bongo Maffin

This Cape Town band has a female lead singer. Thandiswa Mazai wrote most of the songs. Bongo Maffin has been hailed as a deep, thought-provoking group that still has catchy tunes to dance to. The band is currently working on a new record and Mazai is an ambassador for Eastern Cape Province. 


8. Trompies

Shortly after the end of the apartheid, South African band Trompies garnered much attention from the kwaito music scene. Trompies incorporated many indigenous languages into their songs such as Zulu, Xhosa and Sotho. They also include many biblical texts to deliver a positive message to their fans. Today, the trio is working on starting up its own record label to seek new musicians.

the dogg

9. The Dogg

Born in Zambia and reared in Namibia, Martin Morocky aka The Dogg takes immense pride in producing kwaito music. After his own personal success with singing, Morocky started up his own record-producing agency, Mshasho Productions, to help other aspiring kwaito musicans rise to fame.

pitch black afro

10. Pitch Black Afro

Pitch Black Afro (Thulani Ngcobo) is easily recognized for his wild afro wig and set of teeth untouched by modern dentistry. A lifelong stutterer, Ngcobo found rapping to be the solution to overcome his speech problems. This defense mechanism worked in his favor — he sold 50,000 copies of his first record.

lebo mathosa

11. Lebo Mathosa

Lebo Mathosa rose to fame though her previous band, Boom Shaka, when she was only 15. She eventually went solo and became even more successful as one of the few kwaito female musicians. Unfortunately, her life was cut short in 2006 in a car crash in Johannesburg.


12. Gazza

Lazarus Shiimi (in fedora hat) was born in Namibia and later went by his nickname, Gazza. He grew up in an extremely impoverished environment with a family of eight living in a shack. Through his hard work and love of music, Gazza succeeded in becoming Namibia’s most famous and bestselling musician.