Bonginkosi “Zola” Dlamini is one of the most prominent Kwaito artists in South Africa. I reowned humanitarian who is widely celebrated and known for some of the biggest Kwaito songs of all time.
Born 24 April 1977 in Soweto, Johannesburg, Zola is a South African musician, poet, actor and presenter. He was also a presenter of Zola 7, a television show named after him.Bonginkosi Dlamini was born on 24 April 1977 in Soweto township of Johannesburg, Gauteng province, South Africa, where Dlamini spent his formative years in Zola, sub-township in Soweto notoriously known for its high crime rate, from which he adopted his name. Unemployment, alcoholism, and single parent families are the norm in Zola. Dlamini’s father believed to be part of the Mchunu clan abandoned the family, leaving his mother to care for him and his older brother and sister when they were young. Zola himself served time in prison as a juvenile for car theft.
Bonginkosi Dlamini has enjoyed success as a Kwaito superstar, and is probably the most popular Kwaito artist in the country; Lance Stehr of Ghetto Ruff records has referred to Zola as “the second biggest brand in the country next to Nelson Mandela.” Zola not only performs but also writes and produces some of his own music, signing to the independent label Ghetto Ruff records. Zola will be recording a posthumous collaboration with hip-hop legend Tupac Shakur. The track will be recorded in South Africa but feature on a CD to commemorate the 10th anniversary of Shakur’s death on 13 September 1996. Zola is also the owner of the music company Guluva Entertainment.
Originally, Zola was not a fan of Kwaito music, because it “had no message.” He has taken upon himself to change this, viewing himself as a role model. “I want to inspire a guy from the ghetto so he can stop hanging around in the corner begging and try to get some life.” In the song “Mdlwembe”, which literally means problem child, he expresses his feelings about the neighborhood he grew up in. He talks about the horrible quality of life of the township, particularly the extreme level crime and violence. “Beware of the Zola boys, We do crime for money” demonstrates Zola’s past and also the perpetual anguish of life in a ghetto. Today, Zola works on behalf of younger performers, helping them to be integrated into the music industry. He is a pioneer in social action and benefit projects in South Africa.
Kwaito is branded as apolitical; often associated with the advancement of personal wealth, Glamorized gangster lifestyle, and frivolous consumption themes found in much of Jamaican Dancehall and Rap. The Genre is associated with a new political freedom gain since the end of Apartheid in South Africa and less political strife.The form of the Kwaito produced by Zola is in that case an anomaly in that it is very much politically charged and contains a social message.
Zola raps in isiZulu with a high usage of Tsotsitaal. The latter is the vernacular slang in South Africa. This infusion of colloquial dialect with a national language allows for better interaction between the artists and the community South Africans in lower socio-economic classes who live in the townships and speak Tsotsi can relate to Kwaito music differently from Cape Town hip hop or US hip hop because of the lyrics. Additionally many of his songs describe situations of life in the townships, particularly Soweto