CHILD RAPPERS LIGHT UP ALEX

By Everson Luhanga

The kids brave the streets of Alexandra on lockdown, entertaining people gathering on corners. They don’t do it for money – they do it for love.

They are four young rappers – Ntsako Baloyi (11), Sandile Hlongwe (10) Tshepang Sanyane (12), and Themba Hlongwane (9). 

They don’t book big gigs, but instead have a special target market.

They entertain:

·      people playing dice

·      gossipers standing along the side-walk

·      the bored

·      those chilling on the street

With no warning, they walk into any group, line up and start rapping.

The four have called themselves NST Entertainers, and have already performed on their local radio station, Alex FM live. Sandile is their team leader. He started the group after his mom took him from Pretoria where he was staying with his aunt.

Lucia Morudu, the aunt of Sandile and Themba, says nothing can separate her two boys from music.

Hlamalani Baloyi, mother of Ntsako, says her son is brilliant at school and in music. “Music doesn’t disturb him from schoolwork,” she says.

Hlamalani says that during the lockdown, the boys have been practicing and refining their skills, meeting every afternoon.

Hlamalani says she’s happy that two men, Simon Sekhitla and Vincent Ndima, are now helping the kids live their music dreams of performing on international stages, and raise money.

Simon says they have an “immense talent”, and wants them to record in a proper recording studio.

“Their music is mainly in Vernacular language. They don’t rap for money. They find joy to know that people appreciate their music skills,” says Simon.

NST’s lyrics

Some of the lyrics are songs of praise and worship to God.

SOTHO: Kgale ke rapela , ke tswere hlogo, ke re Modimo bophelo bo ka ba so, bra yaka ba mo tswere because he broke the law.

ENGLISH: I have been praying for too long, holding my head, asking myself why is life like this. My brother was arrested because he broke the law.

But the boys easily switch to some hard-core township lingo

Your father is from the bush who love women that shake booty

Shake! shake! Shake your boobs!

Baby you are so delicious. 

I don’t mean to swear at you.

But you are so sweet.

You taste like garlic archaar

Don’t say I am swearing at you

But I am praying in Chinese!