Oscar Mdlongwa (born on 23/11/’67), also affectionately known by his stage names Oskido, Oscar Warona, Godzilla or The Big O. Born in Oukasie, Brits, the producer, performer, radio presenter, record producer, and entrepreneur, grew up between South Africa (Brits) and Zimbabwe (Bulawayo). Oskido later moved up to Jozi to chase his music dream. He later started Kalawa Records with Don Laka and Christos , that later changed to Kalawa Jazzmee when it was joined by Trompies members Mandla “Spikiri” Mofokeng, Zynne Mahoota Sibika and E Mjokes Matsane.
The record label has been at the forefront of youth culture and has produced top acts such as Bongo Maffin, Mafikizolo, Thebe, Alaska, Professor, Character, Black Motion, Boom Shaka, Zonke, Winnie Khumalo, DJ Zinhle, Magesh, and many more. Oskido is also a member of the groundbreaking and eclectic Brothers of Peace – B.o.P (with Bruce Sebitlo) and known for his top-selling “Church Grooves” compilation series that changed the face of SA house compilations, and in 2012 launched the “I Believe” project, which is also the name of his radio show on Metro FM. Oskido was honored with a Special Recognition Award at the 9th Channel O Video Music Awards in 2012 for his contribution in the development of South African music scene , and was part of the Kalawa Jazmee crew honoured at the SA Dance Music Awards on the same year.
Together with Greg Maloka, DJ Fresh, Vinny Da Vinci and DJ Christos, he started DJU (deejays unite) that has been responsible for equipping young music names and DJs with valuable industry information through the annual Southern African Music Conference (SAMC). The conference has resulted in names such as BlackCoffee, DJ Tira, Euphonic and more breaking into the music industry and opening doors for others. He is also responsible for the I Believe programme that was started with his Madlozi partner, Maloka, and the NYDA. The programme seeks to turn young music names into serious businessmen and women.
After spending the first two years of his life with his South African mom (Emily Sophia Molefi), he moved to Bulawayo to stay with his Zimbabwean dad (Esaph Mdlongwa). He graduated at Gifford High School, Bulawayo and moved back to Letlhabile, Brits (1988), to run his family spaza shop business.
Feeling the urge to realize his music urge, he set his sights on making it big in the music business and moved to Joburg. He first worked at a BMW Dealership as an apprentice and quit after six months to pursue his music dream. Scared to go back home, he ended up selling Boerewors rolls on the streets of Jozi outside Razzmatazz Night Club in Hillbrow.
A chance opportunity, to fill in for an absent DJ at the club, saw him pick up the records trade to move crowds and become one of the world’s best. It is thanks to the late Ian Sigola, that he picked up some of the industry’s tricks and used his vinyls to rock his way up and gain respect in the SA music market and whole world
From playing at the club, Oskido was inspired and influenced by early Chicago DJs/remixers like Frankie Knuckles, Steve Silk Hurley, Louie Vega (then known as Little Louie Vega) of Master at Work fame. During this period, he would pick up records and slow down their tempo and reproduce his own sound and put them on cassette. From this, Oskido was soon doing production work and releasing rocking mixes (on cassettes) like ‘Mixmaster’ and ‘Big Jam’.
Meanwhile, his reputation as a DJ grew, and he was soon spinning at campus parties at Wits and as far away as Mmabatho, where he met his future Brothers of Peace (BOP) partner Bruce “Dope” Sebitlo.
Oskido and other up-and-coming names started adding vocals to these slowed down beats of international house tracks, which led to the birth of Kwaito. He also joined forces with Don Laka and Christos Katsaitis to form Kalawa Records (the name, a fusion of the first & last syllables of their surnames;
The stable’s first act, Boom Shaka (whose first cassettes were sold out of the boot of a car!), birthed the kwaito revolution. With Trompies’ Spikiri, Mahoota and Mjokes joining the crew, Kalawa became Kalawa Jazmee, minus Christos, who left to form his own music label.
Dealing with challenges like the major record companies (Gallo, Sony Music, BMG Records) snubbing them and not believing “in our new sound”, it was relationships with the likes of the ANC Youth League’s (ANCYL) late President Peter Mokaba (….and later leaders Malusi Gigaba and Fikile Mbalula) that came in handy.
Through such platforms, the Kalawa crew was able to promote, market and sell music by their new acts, while also aligning with the league’s social messages like fighting against HIV/Aids, the importance of education and fighting crime. They continue being part of such a vessel to educate the masses on various subjects that touch communities.
The stable has now become synonymous with producing classic musical anthems by top acts such as Boom Shaka, Mafikizolo, Bongo Maffin, Mafikizolo, Trompies, Thebe, DJ Vetkuk, Spikiri, Alaska and many more on their slate. Later acts include Professor, DJ Zinhle, Zonke, Black Motion, Winnie Khumalo, Uhuru, Character, DR. Malinga and plenty more.
He has also helped establish the careers and record companies for Black Coffee and DJ Tira. It was through Oskido’s wisdom and sharing spirit that these top music names were nurtured to where they are now where they employ loads of people and signing up top acts to their stables – Soulistic Records and EzaseAfro respectively.
Oskido is also one of radio’s most popular personalities. In 1997, he presented YFM’s Rap Activity Jam with Rudeboy Paul, at the newly launched youth radio station. It is this show that is partly responsible for hip-hop acts carving out a distinct South African sound and sometimes delivery. the for a while, and later moving on to hosting Oskido’s Church Grooves, a bumping groova-thon that was the only place to be on a Saturday afternoon 3pm -6pm (started from his Sunday slot), until he was approached by METRO FM, a national urban youth station, to host the 20h00 – 22h00 slot every Saturday night.
With more than 10 years of doing radio, it was definitely the right time to make this move. The show is called “I believe”, which was a name that represented the story of his life, the belief that nothing is impossible, and a typical rags to riches story, guided by passion and perseverance. He also does the 2.40pm Friday music mix on the Amon Mokoena and Thato’s TSI (The Special Ingredient).
DJU comprises of DJs Oskido, Vinny, Fresh, Christos, & Greg “The Maestro” Maloka, a team of leading South African deejays, musicians, producers and media professionals. Inspired by international conferences such as The Miami Winter Music Conference, DJU established the Southern African Music Conference (SAMC) in 2005.
The conference is more than a talk shop for deejays & producers, it is a critical platform for Southern African dance music industry practitioners to keep pace with, and eventually lead global developments. The SAMC is aimed at attracting delegates that are either involved or interested in the music industry as deejays, producers, performers, writers, promoters and so on. It is the only developmental platform for the music industry in Southern Africa influenced by dance music. Check out http://www.samc.dj
At one point DJU individually and as a unit, contributed 70% of the local music industry content through entities they worked for, owned, controlled and those they contributed through. The Unit’s intention is to further grow the Southern African Music culture and business both locally and globally.
Going back to his stomach filling roots, he started Oskido Groove Lounge Restaurants that was first launched in Midrand in 2010. The brand has now been turned into pop-up restaurants. Oskido also runs an event’s company called DA Bass. His studio has also produced a number of TV & Radio ads for brands such as KFC, Vodacom, Telkom and more. He is also partner with Greg Maloka at Madlozi Entertainment, which deals with content and creative solutions in the entertainment space.
Being the South African first act (as BoP) in the kwaito generation to get a worldwide release for Project B (Zabalaza) with New York based Masters at Work (2004)
He produced 2011 SABC Rugby world Cup Theme song.
Started SOUTH AFRICAN DANCE MUSIC AWARDS with DJU
Created Southern Afircan Music Confernce in 2004 with
One of the Poineer’s of Kwaito Music in South Africa
2002:METRO FM AWARDS B.OP – Zabalaza (Best Group, Best Album
2002 : MTN & Y FM Awards – kwaito artist of the decade
2012: SA Dance Music Awards – Honorary awards Kalawa Jazmee Records
2012: Channel O Music Video Awards – Special Recognition Award
2013:Metro FM Song of the year -Tsa Mandebele
Mixmaster Vol. 1 – 4 (1991 – 1994)
Big Jam vol 1 – 2 (1993 – 1995)
Brothers of Peace (with Christos and Don Laka) – 1994
Brothers of Peace – Traffic Cop (1995)
Brothers of Peace – King of Kwaito Uyagawula (1996)
Oscar Warona – Mother Paka (1997)
Brothers of Peace – Sphithiphithi (2000),
Brothers of Peace – Project A (2001)
Oscar Warona – Godzilla (2001), ft. the hits Mama Wami
Brothers of Peace – Project B – (2002), ft. the hits Zabalaza, Mphintsi yasedladleni
Brothers of Peace – Project C (Zabalaza – The Struggle) – 2003
Brothers of Peace – Project D – (2004), ft. the hitsLife Iskorokoro & Naja
Church Grooves 1 – 10 (2001 – 2010)
Oskido I Believe 2013 – (2012)