By Celani Sikhakhane
Two prominent maskandi musicians have been excluded from uKhozi FM’s song of the year competition – because, supporters say, they are too popular.
Songs by Khuzani Mpungose of “iJele” fame and his biggest rival, Mthandeni Manqele, have won the competition in consecutive years, giving rise to allegations of tribalism.
The dominance of the maskandi genre started in 2016 when Mroza Fakude won the title with his “Van Damme” song.
The following year Mpungose won the title and music lovers began complaining about the dominance of maskandi music on uKhozi’s playlists.
Mkhuliseni Mdletshe, the chair of Manqele supporters, complained that the exclusion of maskandi songs from the competition is discrimination of their genre since the public broadcasting wing of uKhozi FM has excluded these two popular rivals.
“Their problem is that whenever these two are included in the competition, it always would be tight against other genres. As maskandi supporters we vote in numbers and we don’t buy fake CDs and now we are being punished for that,” said Mdletshe.
He said that this move is as if Grammy organisers decided to block Ladysmith Black Mambazo group because of a fear that they would always win when it came to African content.
Gugu Ntuli of the SABC asked Scrolla.Africa to send questions by text message but she didn’t respond.
Scrolla.Africa has also learned that the SABC is facing a criminal case from Owen Ndlovu, who claims to own the song of the year concept. He has accused the corporation of having breached an agreement they had signed with him.
In addition, “I have opened a case against one of their managers,” he said, claiming there was no sign of the sms money made from people voting on the songs. “I’m waiting for the police to institute a criminal case after I have opened it against one of their KwaZulu-Natal regional executives.”