On: Mabala Noise

On: Mabala Noise

“The turning point for me was that I’d been doing a number of other businesses, but always had a passion for music,” Reggie “Govner” Nkabinde tells me this as he’s seated in a grandiose throne-like chair at the Mabala Noise offices. The image is fitting as the company has just announced that they’ve signed 12 South African musicians and media personalities and are working on a deal with a Namibian act. Mabala Noise aim to reign supreme.

Nkabinde is talking to me about why he and his partners have decided to make such a bold move. The new acts on the roster are DJ Finzo, Letoya Makhene, Jay Spitter, Gigi Lamayne, Kay Sibiya, Mbali Nkosi, Zakwe, Major League DJs, Khanyi Mbau, PRO, Zola and Nasty C.

So Nkabinde, who is a businessman as well as the treasurer general of the ANC Youth League, is sitting pretty and proud of the decision they’ve made.

He continues: “The fact that I’m also a politician and a leader of young people in the country through the Youth League – I felt it befitting to use this platform to contribute meaningfully and positively.

“The main thing that touched me and made me feel like something needs to be done was this: I was sitting at the Samas, just in the second row. They played a clip of Brenda Fassie (performing) at what is now called FNB Stadium. That stadium was packed, even on the pitch.

“What does that say,” he asks me, not really looking for me to respond.

“If I’ve done an event and the stadium is packed in that way, it would tell you that Brenda died a millionaire. In terms of royalties and how her music is still being played today.

“But you have her child sitting in a backyard. A child who is living a life that doesn’t resemble his mother being a legend. It’s the same with Mahlathini. Are we just going to talk about our artists dying as paupers and not do anything about it?

“I left that room saying: ‘This is not possible. If this is what the majors have done to our own people, what legacy are we cherishing here? Whose footsteps are we following? What is it that we stand to correct?’ For me, it’s about that.”

Founded by Bongani “DJ Bongz” Dlamini as Emabalabala Entertainment, this record company made the DJ (as well as the likes of L’VoVo) into a star.

But, he told me, he couldn’t juggle being a muso and the admin of being a businessman so he sought help from Nkabinde.

The business name was then changed to Mabala Noise and as an independent record company, they went on to sign Riky Rick earlier this year as well as put on events like the Mother of All Parties featuring Chris Brown, Eve, Tinashe and more.

Now, the company is spreading its wings to not only being a fully-fledged record company, but to having a management and publicity wing. While the likes of Mbali Nkosi and Kay Sibiya are not really known as musicians, their brands will be represented by Mabala Noise.

“You look at the structure of Roc Nation – that’s what we’re trying to build. An entertainment revolutionary house that has everything inside,” Nkabinde tells me.

After signing the Namibian act that he’s keeping mum about, Nkabinde says they will focus on nurturing their talent.

He also says: “The big things we will be announcing now are the collabos we have done internationally, the videos we’ll be dropping, the big concerts we will be doing in October and December, the digital platform we’re trying to build on our own and the music distribution platforms.”


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