Malaika is an Afro-pop music group formed by three musicians. They are Bongani Nchang, Matshediso Mholo and the late Jabulani Ndaba.
Jabulani and Bongani were members of kwaito group called Stouters. The two met Matshediso at a church in Soweto where she had found a teaching job. A match made in heaven. Let’s start with the name of the group. If you believe legend then it was Jabulani who came up with the name after he met Stone’s daughter Malaika. The name comes from Swahili and means “angel.” Jabulani foresaw the group being musical angels of their time and they were. That’s a beautiful tale actually.
The Best of Malaika (2011)
Kora Awards 2004 they won Best Newcomer Group
Metro FM Awards 2004 they won Best Afro Pop Album, Best Group and Best Album
Channel O Music Video Awards 2005 they won Best Afro Pop group
Kora Awards 2005 they won Best Southern African Group
SAMA Awards 2005 they won Best Selling Album
SAMA Awards 2006 they won Best Afro Pop
Channel O Music Video Awards 2006 they won Best Duo or Group
So What Happened to Malaika?
I am not going to lie I am one of those people who looked at pictures of the group and thought Bongani and Tshedi are doing something behind the mic. I mean when the microphone is turned off, the camera a switched off and the lights are off these two are doing things in the dark.
And it looks like I was right.
According to reports Bongani and Tshedi never saw eye to eye on a lot of things. They were constantly at each other’s throats. Jabulani is said to have been the one to calm the situation.
Jabulani Ndaba died in 2008 July at Tshepong Hospital in Kleksdorp, North West after a long battle with Tuberculosis.
Without Jabulani to be the mediator. Bongani and Tshedi’s power struggle consumed them in the end. Which inevitable led to the end of one of the greatest, awards winning Afro Pop group in South Africa.
The groups last music release was the “The Best of Malaika” in 2011. The last time the Tshedi and Bongani performed together was in 2013 at a jazz festival in Moretele Park in Pretoria. Since then the Afro pop group stopped performing together and let’s take a look at some of the reasons why.
According to reports Tshedi said Bongani would book events as Malaika and perform alone without telling her. Bongani says Tshedi was often tied up with her acting and other commitments. In essences it’s a classic he said she said situation.
People close to the duo say this might well be the end for the group.
“This time around I think the group has permanently broken up,” said a source, who asked not to be named.
Mholo told City Press: “I’m tired of lying. I have been trying to trace Bongani but I can’t find him.”
She said last year she tried to make contact with Nchang.
“I asked him for a meeting. I wanted us to meet so that we can restructure Malaika. He promised to come back to me but never did,” she said.
Mholo says that to this day she doesn’t know his whereabouts.
She said they have had several meetings with Sony Music to find out what was happening with the brand, but no one was willing to give them answers. She said most people who had been there when Malaika was born had since left the Sony label.
“This is such a complicated issue. I dedicated my life to Malaika. Fans always ask me ‘where is Malaika?’ wherever I go. Unfortunately, I always don’t have answers,” she said.
Bongani and Tshedi have gone on to release solo albums and are currently busy with other ventures independently. Reports also say that the group Malaika is over and that the two aren’t even on speaking terms. However it’s alleged that Malaika still owe Sony one more album as per their contract. Only time will tell if Malaika will release another album.
She said she would be happy if Malaika could make a comeback, because she owed her success to her fans.
“But we’ll have to go back to the drawing board and resolve some issues,” she said.
Mholo blamed Sony Music for not having a stronger structure to market their music and also for failing to support them when they could see the group was falling apart. Tshedi also claims she’s not getting any royalties for hit song Destiny.
Mholo is now focusing on her career as a solo artist, but says it’s challenging.
“I’m a mother and have to make a living. I would rather sell my CDs from my car boot,” she added.
When City Press phoned Nchang this week he sang a different tune.
He said: “I cannot conclude [that] Malaika is dead. All I know is that, as the group, we still owe Sony Music an album.”
He said they still received queries to perform overseas, but he was never available because the dates always clashed with his SABC2 Gospel Classic commitments. Nchang is co-hosting the gospel show with Tshepo Maseko.
He also denied that his bandmate tried to make contact with him.
Malaika told Sowetan that they will reunite on stage on 8 March 2019 for the Remember The Time concert in Pretoria.
“It’s a new year and we are just looking forward to touching base yet again. This is a rebirth in a way, We have grown up so much. Yes, sometimes you fight, then you reconnect, forgive one another and continue with the legacy. We have decided to let bygones be bygones. This is business and we have grown up. Let’s give the people what they want. So many things were said, but it’s OK, we are back.” said Tshedi
She added on to say that they are taking their reunion at their own pace as they don’t want to promise what they won’t be able to deliver.
Bongani also added that the March concert will be their second stage reconciliation performance. He said “It was awesome to be on that stage together again. It took me back to the golden days and it was great to see that people still love Malaika.”