L’Vovo is wearing a black and white spottie. It’s got various typography on it with words like “life” prominently placed. And what a serendipitous life the Durban kwaito star has led.
Born Thokozani Ndlovu and bred in Newcastle and Durban, L’Vovo always knew he was going to be Somebody. “Way before music and everything, I just had that think that I want to work with people but I didn’t know how,” he shares.
“When I went to tertiary, I took a course that most people didn’t understand. I did a national diploma in language practice. It includes sign language, interpreting in court. And in my second year of school, I’d become popular as an MC and as a member of the SRC and that’s when I met Zakes Bantwini.”
Having heard L’Vovo be the host with the most, Zakes approached him to say he had a beat that would be perfect for him. “I wasn’t taking it seriously because I didn’t have plans for music,” says L’Vovo.
Then Bayang’sukela (Resista) was born and it became one of the biggest songs of 2007. It also catapulted Durban Kwaito to unimaginable heights. A few albums and many awards later, L’Vovo and Zakes parted ways and L’Vovo attempted the independent route before he signed to Mabala Noise.
Now he has released Iyavaya, an infectious single featuring Dr Malinga and Professor. He says initially, the song didn’t feature his frequent collaborator, Professor, but once he heard it, he couldn’t help but jump on it. The song is about hot songs and the winning spirit.
Iyavaya has no doubt been played in taxis all over the country. L’Vovo has made it his mission to bring awareness and appreciation to taxi drivers. He often tweets about them and even held a massive braai day in their honour. I ask him when was the last time he was a passenger in a taxi. “Yoh,” he exclaims. “I think it was in 2007.”
“But the reason I had that braai was because the taxi drivers – especially the Durban taxi drivers – take a risk when they play our music,” he continues. “Our music was not out there on radio stations but we wanted to launch it.”
“Taxi drivers play our music until people get used to it and start requesting it. Even the Distruction Boyz were a part of that day because at first, people thought gqom was just noisy but the taxi drivers played it and made it popular to the people. I wanted to say thank you to the taxi drivers for playing our music.”