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Wheeling and Dealing

Wheeling and Dealing

by Dave Durbach / 07.05.2010

That the song still rings out at Loftus every Saturday speaks for itself. Released a decade ago. “Nkalakatha” remains the ultimate crossover hit. Its success means that Mandoza has arguably done more to unite South Africans than any other musician of the kwaito era. But this was before he did a Jub Jub on the N1 two years ago. Accusations abounded of booze and drugs; the threat of jail time loomed; the hits dried up. Mandoza’s prospects looked dim, along with the fate of kwaito itself.

On the eve of the release of a comeback album in February, Mandoza was in another car accident. He was found dazed and confused in Roodepoort (as good a place as any), but, it emerged, not in the driver’s seat. Playing it safe, EMI pushed back the album’s release date. That storm has now subsided, and here we are.

Real Deal’s eleven tracks seldom stray from what audiences have come to expect from Mandoza. Some play it safe – opening track “Moja Solja,” “Top,” and the soccer-inspired “Namkelekile” all sound like rehashes of “Godoba” or “50/50”. They’re typical Mandoza songs though, and will appease his less demanding fans. Far less certain is just how Ndoza was rickrolled into taking a stab at “Never Gonna Give You Up,” that awful 80’s Eurobeat hit, here morphed into something even worse by substituting noxious synthesized female vocals for Rick Astley’s baritone warble.

More interesting efforts include “Sthandwa Sami,” which draws on Latin-influenced afro-pop and has Mandoza actually singing, instead of barking, and “Don’t Forget,” MXO-styled nuskool funk featuring vocals from Baby M. “Hlanganisa” hearkens back to Mduduzi Tshabalala’s early days in 90s kwaito heavyweights Chiskop (“Klaimar”), while downtempo tracks like “Ubzukuzuku” and “Zingakanani” offer something far less frantic than the Man-dozer’s typical pumped-up sound; perhaps a sign of things to come as he (hopefully) negotiates life as an artist older and wiser than he was two years ago. This much might also be gleaned from titles like “I’m Sorry” and “Court”, as well as the album’s liner notes, in which he asks for forgiveness from the families of those who died in the 2008 accident.

Songs on Real Deal were produced by Themba Mhinga (son of Yvonne Chaka Chaka), his frequent collaborator Philemon Madibe, and Sipho ‘Psyfo’ Ngwenya. Together they’ve helped put Mandoza back on track – with no help from Rick Astley.

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  1. Kerina says:

    Nicely researched..almost too much to take in.

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  2. Anonymous says:

    acting like u know

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  3. African says:

    Mnxaah!!!! Why do we even bother with these has-been posers? The only thing that keeps this guy in the media is his countless court cases, certainly not his “music”

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  4. googlethu says:

    I love “im sorry” simply because Mandoza is singing in english in it(lol), thats reason enuff for me to get this album *grin*

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  5. nkosinathi says:

    hola mandoza you know what im your biggest fan around mzansi kutsa

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  6. Anonymous says:

    I have this album and it rocks, sorry but Mandoza is one of kings in the music industry and has paved way for many artists we have Today and I feel sorry for people that constantly focus on the negative as if you are perfect human beings, think about yourself for a second and now thank God that it was not you who had to face families after being in a accident, its an accident people, they happen every day, unfortunatly. Mandoza has talent and his stage performance and presence is something hard to find especially in South Africa. How soon all the good a person does is forgotten as soon as a bad tragedy happens in their lives. Mandoza is back, accept it! Hola.

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  7. Anonymous says:

    Dave, do you always go so deep into someones personal life when simply reviewing an album. Your comments sound almost personal, like you have something against Mandoza personally??? I have heard of clebraties that do much worse like Lil Wayne with guns and celebs in major law problems but guess what if they international you guys still do great reviews and still support them because you are blinded by international stars but soon as one of our own make a mistake we try to destroy their careers by doing what you doing and trying to defame our stars. Get a life and if yours is perfect then we happy for you but all out there know they also make mistakes, just imagine if all your mistakes where put in the papers, I bet you would stop looking down on others then wouldn’t you? What Hippocrates!

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  8. Skhokho says:

    Mandoza rocks, he is the best artist. They can say what they like about him but he will never give up, he knows of what he is doing.

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  9. Lebo leshoro says:

    Mandoza rocks big tym.i realy lv hs latest ulbum Real Deal.especialy track 4.lyk it sy evrybody deserve a 2cnd chnc.i lv hm

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  10. Anonymous says:

    Hey thanks 2 doz who undrstand a mistak,no 1 who is perfct by d way who ar u judg?ny way wat maks u thnk he cares wat u say.

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  11. Skhokho.com says:

    Mandoza rocks

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  12. zolani nqayi says:

    mandoza in s.a is the best musician so far 10 albums they cn say whatever ths guy rocks big tym

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  13. Loyiso says:

    Keept up dozziling man

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  14. Anonymous says:

    Mandoza you are my star, hard times never kills bro

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