Anga Makubalo is a South African actor, model and singer best known for his starring role as MJ Memela, the son of the vicious Mawande, in the SABC1 soap opera Generations, joining the cast in December 2011.
Makubalo, also known by his music stage name NaakMusiQ, was born in New Brighton, Port Elizabeth. When he was young he relocated with his mother to Johannesburg and in 2003 was accepted at Edenvale high school on a sports bursary, participating in soccer, cricket, athletics and rugby.
He attended acting and presenting classes at Talent International and later became a part-time teacher at the same school, coaching and mentoring young talents. In 2009 he studied contemporary music at Damelin, Bramley being taught by Benjy Mudie and RJ Benjamin.
He made a guest appearance on the SABC1 show Mmino Mania in 2011, as a singer. From 2008-2009 he was a presenter on SABC2’s Hectic 9 Nine.
He has performed alongside Dj Fresh and Euphonik, Lunga The Sid, Lulo Cafe, Mo Flava and others.
In 2015 he starred in the e.tv drama series Z’bondiwe as Ntando Mabatha, a young man forced to join a gang in order to save the love of his life from a vicious psychopath.
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Maraza, real name Sphamandla Mhlongo, is using ‘Fanagalo’, a language popular in the mines, to enhance his sound.
‘Fanagalo’ is a language spoken by people who either do not fully understand Zulu, Tswana and Tsonga and are therefore mixing the three languages. Popular in the mines because of the diversity that exists in the industry.
Maraza, a hip hop artist that has been in the industry for almost 10 years but is only getting his big break now is taking advantage of the language. He has coined his type of music ‘Sfanaflow’.
“I was at home a couple of times and noticed my grandfather and old teachers speaking Fanagalo. When I go to the shops some of the Indian guys from my neighbourhood have seen me on TV would [say] ‘wena mfana la Mhlongo [hey you Mhlongo boy], mina bona wena lapha TV Gheleza Nathi yini wena yenza? [I saw you on TV show Geleza Nathi what are you doing?]’. I would respond: ‘mina presenter, yenza Geleza Nathi, yenza TV’ [I’m a presenter on Geleza Nathi]”.
“And that is a huge part of who I am, I grew up being spoken to like that and at some point I used to think that was so patronising, ‘why are you speaking to me in that language, you assume that I don’t know English?’ Instead of embracing that this is the way of my people. I don’t need to show these people that I know English, I need to tell these people my story in whatever language it will take for them to understand it best.
So I took Fanagalo and put it in song and when I dropped that song it happened the exact way I had dreamt of it so many years ago,” said Maraza.
Prior to realising where his powers lied, Maraza was stagnant in the hip hop industry because it has been changing so much and in order to survive, he had to adapt. He had to learn what people liked and go back to the drawing board to see how he could bring his own flavour into the current hip hop.
“I started questioning the artist I am. I started questioning the music I make because I had been making music for so damn long and I still wasn’t as big as Cassper [Nyovest] and AKA.
“I decided to treat it like a science rather than a passion. I started treating it like an exercise rather than a lifestyle, I started studying the game seeing what other people are making and then trying to emulate, obviously with my own flavour and my own flare but for the songs that I thought would break me out. ”
This also failed.
He was forced to go back home to try find himself again. He corrected his wrongs by doing all the cultural rituals that he skipped including paying damages for his two children and lobola for his fiance.
Actions he believes gave rise to the rejuvinated Maraza who has a hit song, Gwan which is taking over the airwaves and seeing him getting bookings all over the country.
Watch: Maraza’s Gwan music video
He is currently married, living with his wife and two children. Although he is doing all he can to ensure a happy life for his children, he believes it will take a long time for him to become an adequate father.
“Being a self taught musician is okay, a self taught chef is okay and those are the thing I am, but being a self taught father, a self taught parent is a very different thing because we are meant to learn parenting from our parents and I spent so much time living without parents.”
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Born Lehlogonolo Ronald Mataboge, A-Reece is the SA rap game’s latest youngin. He has taken SA hip hop by storm with his debut single Couldn’t – an antithesis of his budding career.
The hit song currently burning up airwaves features golden boy Emtee and even pays homage to Somizi, with Reece spitting out in one verse: “This sh*t right here make Somizi go straight”.
But who is A-Reece?
The Pretoria West MC scored his big break last December when he got signed to a big record label, yielding the aforementioned breakout single as a result. Mind you, just little over a year ago the 19-year-old star was in high school.
“I don’t want to say the record deal came easy, but it was meant to be. I sent an e-mail with everything – all my videos and music that I put out on the internet. I wrote a little bio and I sent it through. The next day I got an e-mail back saying they want to hold a meeting. That was that. It has all been exciting. For me it is everything that I have expected,” Reece points out.
Reece bills the song as his introduction to the world and says the reception has been overwhelming, even recalling a highlight so far in which rapper Tumi Molekane gave him the thumbs up. At current, he is putting the finishing touches to his follow-up single and he hopes to drop a full length album by mid-winter.
“‘Couldn’t’ is just me showcasing my skills, because I told myself I’m not going to box myself. It was Emtee-driven, as a tool to introduce me to the masses. The response has been mostly good. I learned a lot from Emtee in a very short space of time. I usually make music alone, had a one-dimensional approach before and after working with Emtee I’ve become more musical,” Reece states.
“After I performed the song in Durban, when I walked off the stage Tumi from the Volume came up to me to pat me on the back. He said: ‘I hear what you’re saying. I like the song. Shout-out’. – That was surreal.”
Aries = A-Reece
He breaks down his stage name for us, which he reveals comes from his fondness for astronomy. His alias is inspired by his star sign Aries, the first astrological sign in the Zodiac often closely associated with Greek mythology of the ram.
He took Aries and spelled it differently so all the letters can have a significant meaning for him.
“So the ‘A-R’ stands for ‘Above Reality’, which means that I’m a dreamer, because I know that dreams can come true. The ‘ee’ stands for ‘Exceptionally Emotional’. As a human you are emotional, sometimes you are extremely happy or sad or whatever. Lastly, the ‘ce’ stands for ‘Conscious with Everything’, because that’s me I’m conscious with everything. I’m very inquisitive. I like to explore new things,” A-Reece explains.
The young rapper states that he doesn’t like to box his sound, citing that prior to Couldn’t he stayed clear of trap music but was open enough to embrace the modern genre when an opportunity presented itself. He says his sound might be considered relatively dark to what is currently out in the local hip hop circuit.
“In terms of the field, I feel that my sound is a bit darkish and nocturnal. I record mostly at night. The night-time gives me a certain feeling that’s when I make most of my music. My sound is kind of mellow too, that’s when I’m in my zone. But you can’t really box it,” A-Reece discloses.
“As a whole my sound is how you feel as a human on a daily base. Sometimes I’m happy, sometimes I’m not. Sometimes I’m being honest, sometimes I’m just conflicted. Sometimes I’m contradictory, sometimes I’m controversial.”
‘I love women’
Although he prefers to diarize matters of his childhood upbringing in a song, he affirms that his mom raised his well. A-Reece mentions that he has two brothers and both his parents are still alive; adding:
“My parents are together, there was a little bump along the line, which is the reason why I think I’m this person, that I over-think at times. But that is just life. I had to experience such things so I can learn and gain wisdom. I was raised well. My mom raised me well and my paps here and there.”
“I grew up around my mom a lot, I really learned how to appreciate women. I love women, them as people and creatures of the earth. They are interesting to me, I like to learn from them.”
Slow your roll ladies, Reece remarks that there is someone special in his romantic life.
“I actually do have someone special in my life right now. I do feel like I still need to know her more,” Reece coyly voices.
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Babes `wodumo ‘s song, Wololo, which features Big Nuz’s Mampintsha, is the fourth most played local song on South African radio.
She is signed to Mampintsha’s West Ink label, and is also severely devoted to it and its parent company, DJ Tira’s Afrotainment.
Her stage name means “the famous Babes,” and she says when she was born, there was a group called The Babes and she had eyes like one of its members, which her father always referred to and said “Lo uw ’Babes’ (this one is Babes).” The ‘Wodumo’ came because she used to do dancing, acting, soccer, athletics, and was good at them all and became famous for them.
She grew up in Lamontville with her grandmother and in a flat in Durban’s CBD with her parents
She started the West Ink Dance Academy that gets kids off the streets and onto the stage with her.
She has said Wololo is about telling people not to let fun get them so intoxicated that they don’t know where or how they ended up sleeping where they slept.
She feels that she is the first woman to put gqom (a dance sub-genre from Durban) into the music industry, and is a self-proclaimed gqom star.
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