ENTERTAINMENT 9: Big Zulu – native tongue rapper from the taxi ranks

Sizwe Sibiya

It’s not every day that you see a rapper who prides himself on being Zulu or even African.

Big Zulu, whose real name is Siyabonga Nene, says he learnt most of what he knows from being a taxi driver in Johannesburg.

The native tongue rapper from Bergville in KwaZulu-Natal brings in themes from the hostel lifestyle and has broken with old school gangster rap – the standard fare of most commercial rappers in South Africa – to sing about izinkabi (taxi industry assassins). 

Fellow musician Sjava, also from Bergville, carries the same sense of uniqueness in his music, which is equally in touch with Zulu culture.

Big Zulu’s second hit single ‘Imali Eningi’ has reached over 3,7 million views since its release in late November.

Imali Eningi, which features Ricky Rick and Intaba YaseDubai, became a big deal on social media after former president Jacob Zuma’s son Duduzane shared a video of him and his entourage walking with the song playing in the background.

 Immediately the ‘Duduzane walk challenge’ was launched, which saw famous Mzansi personalities walk to the song including the rapper Casper Nyovest.