Kwaito singer Mduduzi Tshabalala, also known as Mandoza, has died from brain cancer at the age of 38.
The star, who produced multi-platinum hits like Nkalakatha, Godoba and Sgelekeqe, and collaborated with Danny K on Same Difference, was diagnosed with a brain tumour about a year ago.
Earlier this year his wife, Mpho, confirmed his illness and called on the support of his friends and fans in a statement.
“A great Son of our Mzansi Soil is in trouble. Mduduzi ‘Mandoza’ Tshabalala is fighting for his life after having cancer treatment in 2015. It has unfortunately metastasised to his brain. Doctors and medical staff are trying whatever they can, and we are not giving up hope for his recovery.”
“Mpho and the Tshabalala family have asked all his friends and fans to pray for him, beckon the Ancestors and keep him in your thoughts during this time. Please also be respectful and discreet in how you react to this announcement,” read the statement.
His death was confirmed on Twitter by social media strategist Sthembiso Sithole, who was with the family.
BREAKING NEWS: Legendary Kwaito musician #Mandoza has passed away.
— Sthembiso Sithole (@SITHOLEEXPRESS) September 18, 2016
Mandoza made his last public appearance at the SABC Thank You Concert, where he thanked South Africa for their prayers.
Born in the Zola South section of Soweto, Mandoza started his career with Chiskop, a kwaito group formed with three of his childhood friends, S’bu, Siphiwe and Sizwe.
His talents were discovered by the King of Kwaito, Arthur Mafokate. He was first played on air by DJ Sipho Mbatha A.K.A. Sgqemeza of Durban Youth Radio.
Mandoza always strived to give an inspirational message to Kwaito, using his music as a way to encourage young South Africans to achieve their goals. He released the album Nkalakatha in 2000, produced by Gabi Le Roux, which won multi-platinum status. The title track became a crossover hit and reached the top of the charts on both traditionally black and white radio stations.
Nkalakatha won the Best Kwaito Music Album category and the album’s title track won the Song Of The Year category at the South African Music Awards in 2001.
Mandoza also won in five of the ten categories at the 2001 Metro Music Awards: Best Kwaito Artist, Best Male Vocalist, Best Album, Best Styled Artist and Song Of The Year. Finally, also in 2001, Mandoza won the Best Artist – Southern Africa category at the Kora All Africa Music Awards. In 2003 Mandoza participated in the documentary film SHARP! SHARP! – the kwaito story, directed by Aryan Kaganof.
Mandoza was also voted 77th in the Top 100 Great South Africans in 2004.
In February 2005 it was announced that Mandoza would play a major supporting role in a new South African-made rugby union-themed feature film, Number 10, which would be directed by Academy Award nominee Darrell James Roodt.