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Photo by Sabelo Mkhabela.

Get To Know This South African Duo's "Mandela Pop" Music

Radio 123 part of a new wave of South African bands defying all traditional rules and breaking genre boundaries.

Joburg duo Radio 123 (members Nyameko Nkondlwane and Simangaliso Mfula) just released a new EP titled Manga Manga. And oh boy, it's a treat.


The music Radio 123 make isn't easy to categorize—but who cares about labels anyway? The duo call their genre Mandela Pop, because, according to them, it's a sound that reflects the rainbow spectrum that South Africa has become.

On Manga Manga, they blend pop, jazz, funk, rock and even hip-hop. The opening song "Manga Manga," sees Mfula lay vocals over Nkondlwane's trumpet and 808 snares, before live robust drumming takes over changing the song's tempo.

"Manga Manga" is definitive Radio 123, in that you never know what to expect from the duo. Their music is a tapestry of various sounds both modern and nostalgic, and they have a way of blending all these influences into one solid sound that neither sounds forced nor scattered.

For instance, the EP's lead single, "Thando," is equally indebted to Outkast as it is to funk and drum & bass. It's colorful—the perfect soundtrack to the summer.

Lyrically, Manga Manga is easy on the ear, and gets humorous at times. The aptly titled "Thando" talks about how everyone needs love, and shows gratitude to our loved ones.

If you are educated enough to understand IsiZulu and kasi slang, you'll sure get a full experience of what Radio 123 are about—celebrating who they are without defining it or caring if you understand it. What's entertaining is they sound like they are having fun, and that will be propagated to the listener.

Radio 123 is part of the new wave of South African bands who are defying all traditional rules and aren't bounded by genre.

Listen to Manga Manga below, and download it here.

Follow Radio 123 on Facebook and Twitter.

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Justice Mukheli. Courtesy of Black Major/Bongeziwe Mabandla.

Interview: Bongeziwe Mabandla's New Album Is a Calm Meditation On Relationships

We speak with the South African artist about his captivating new album, iimini, love cycles, and the unexpected influence of Bon Iver.

"I've been playing at home for so many years and pretending to be having shows in my living room, and today it's actually happening," Bongeziwe Mabandla says, smiling out at me from my cellphone as I watch him play songs on Instagram Live, guitar close to his chest.

Two weekends ago, Mabandla was meant to be celebrating the release of his third album, iimini, at the Untitled Basement in Braamfontein in Joburg, which would no doubt have been packed with some of the many fans the musician has made since his debut release, Umlilo, in 2012. With South Africa joining many other parts of the world in a lockdown, those dates were cancelled and Mabandla, like many other artists, took to social media to still play some tracks from the album. The songs on iimini are about the life and death of a relationship—songs that are finding their way into the hearts of fans around the world, some of whom, now stuck in isolation, may be having to confront the ups and downs of love, with nowhere to hide.

The day before his Instagram Live mini-show, Mabandla spoke to OkayAfrica on lockdown from his home in Newtown about the lessons he's learned from making the album, his new-found love for Bon Iver, and how he's going to be spending his time over the next few weeks.

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Lueking Photos. Courtesy of emPawa Africa.

Interview: GuiltyBeatz Proves He's Truly 'Different'

The Ghanaian producer talks to us about his debut EP, Different, the massive success of "Akwaaba," producing for Beyoncé and more.

GuiltyBeatz isn't a new name in the Ghanaian music scene. A casual music fan's first introduction to him would've likely been years ago on "Sample You," one of Mr Eazi's early breakout hits. However, he had scored his first major hit two years before that, in the Nigerian music space on Jesse Jagz' and Wizkid's 2013 hit "Bad Girl." In the years to come, the producer has gone on to craft productions for some of Ghana's most talented artists.

In the years to come, the producer has gone on to craft productions for some of Ghana's most talented artists, having worked with the likes of Efya, Pappy Kojo, Sarkodie, R2Bees, Stonebwoy, Bisa Kdei, Wande Coal, Moelogo and many more over the last decade. The biggest break of the talented producer's career, however, came with the arrival of his own single "Akwaaba".

In 2018, GuiltyBeatz shared "Akwaaba" under Mr Eazi's Banku Music imprint, shortly afterwards the song and its accompanying dance went viral. The track and dance graced party floors, music & dance videos, and even church auditoriums all around the world, instantly making him one of Africa's most influential producers. Awards, nominations, and festival bookings followed the huge success of "Akwaaba." Then, exactly a year later, the biggest highlight of his career so far would arrive: three production credits on Beyoncé's album The Lion King: The Gift.

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Image via Wikimedia Commons

Nollywood Actress, Funke Akindele, Arrested for Throwing Party During Coronavirus Lockdown

Naira Marley, who was also in attendance, has also turned himself in according to local reports.

Star Nigerian actress, Funke Akindele, and her husband, rapper JJC Skillz, were arrested on Monday after hosting a party at their home which violated Lagos' coronavirus lockdown order.

The actress came under fire over the weekend, when footage of a party she threw for her husband's birthday began circulating on social media. The clips showed several people, including fellow Nollywood actress Eniola Badmus and Nigerian rapper Naira Marley, gathered inside of Akindele's Lagos home. According to a report from Pulse Nigeria, Marley also turned himself in on Monday for attending the function and will be arraigned.

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Screenshot from YouTube.

Watch Champagne69’s Music Video for ’15 Goons’

Champagne69 release a music video for their single '15 Goons.'

South African hip-hop duo Champagne69 shared a new music video for their single "15 Goons." The song was produced by NotBenjamin alongside Ezechiel (SorryZeke).

"15 Goons" is a minimalist 808 and bass-laden tune in which the duo glide with ease as they pay homage to their goons.

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