National 19.9.2016 10:50 am

Gayton McKenzie: I’m devastated, Mandoza conquered prison

Controversial businessman Gayton McKenzie poses with his birthday cakes held by two inmates at Johannesburg Central Prison in Johannesburg, South Africa on 10 March 2011 where he and business partner Kenny Kunene held a party to celebrate McKenzie's birthday. Picture: Gallo Images

Controversial businessman Gayton McKenzie poses with his birthday cakes held by two inmates at Johannesburg Central Prison in Johannesburg, South Africa on 10 March 2011 where he and business partner Kenny Kunene held a party to celebrate McKenzie's birthday. Picture: Gallo Images

McKenzie and Mandoza had both gone to jail as younger men.

Former prisoner turned businessman/politician Gayton McKenzie sent a heartfelt tribute to late kwaito star and fellow ex-prisoner Mduduzi “Mandoza” Tshabalala on Sunday evening.

Mandoza passed away on Sunday midday after a long battle with cancer, which had reportedly spread to his brain.

Before becoming the extraordinary kwaito singer, a then 16-year-old Mandoza served a one-and-a-half-year sentence at Diepkloof Prison in Soweto, for stealing a car.

Upon his release from jail, Mandoza formed kwaito group Chiskop along with three childhood friends, S’bu, Siphiwe and Sizwe.

Also read: Kwaito legend Mandoza has died

“I’m devastated, you changed all prisoners perception about life after prison, you came out and conquered, you paved the way, we shall meet at the corner,” said McKenzie, who served his term in Grootvlei prison for, among other things, bank robbery. Today, McKenzie is not only a successful businessman, but also the leader of a political party, the Patriotic Alliance, which won one five council seats in August’s municipal elections. He has also published several bestselling books, including The Choice: The Gayton McKenzie Story, A Hustler’s Bible and The Uncomfortable Truth.

Also read: Mcebo Dlamini’s Mandoza remarks anger Zuma fans

Mandoza captured his struggle with drugs and prison life in his song Respect. In the track, he pleads with young boys to respect life; to respect elders and all people so they can live longer. He also calls for the young “not to forget to live with the township”. The Nkalakatha hit maker also opens up on the track about how he survived drugs and prison.

The Phunyuka Bamphethe hit maker last performed at the SABC Thank You concert a week ago. His last words in public were: “I thank God. He owns our lives. I’m here to perform for you. To show you that the devil is a liar. Devil is a liar! Thank you!”

Many artists sent their condolences to Mandoza’s family. Cassper Nyovest wrote on Twitter: “Damn man!!! Mandoza left us??? Argh no man!!! This life thing is sooo short. to the legend!!!”.


Watch Mandoza’s last public appearance at the SABC Thank You concert below: 

 

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