For more than 20 years, Kalawa Jazmee has been producing music that resonates with us all. In this issue, we paid tribute to the biggest independent record label in Mzansi, honouring them for their dedication to the growth of the industry.

The Kalawa Jazmee story began in 1992 when Oscar ‘Oskido’ Mdlongwa, Don Laka and DJ Christos Katsaitis came together to form a record label. At the time, the collective was known as Kalawa. In 1993, while Oscar was managing a club called Arena, two young girls got on stage and set it ablaze with their singing and vibrant dance moves. Entranced by their performance, Oscar knew that these girls had the potential to be the next big thing. Oscar approached the girls and there began the story of the biggest Kwaito group in South Africa – Boom Shaka.

 

Kalawa Jazmee as a company is like a unit, an engine block, a ship that keeps sailing. – Oskido

 

Together with his partners, Oscar launched the career of Boom Shaka and revolutionised the sound of Kwaito. They went from selling cassettes from the boot of a car to establishing a formidable company that has changed the face of the South African music industry. Christos left Kalawa in 1995, and the company joined forces with Jazmee (Zynne ‘Mahoota’ Sebika, Mandla ‘Spikiri’ Mofokeng and Mojalefa ‘Mjokes’ Matsane) to form what is known today as Kalawa Jazmee. Bruce ‘Dope’ Sebitlo later joined the crew and added more vision to the intrepid collective.

 

Masters of the Game

Each member of Kalawa Jazmee has over 20 years experience in the music industry. The company consists of musicians, producers and businessmen who have launched the careers of award-winning artists such as Trompies, Mafikizolo, Bongo Maffin, Black Coffee, DJ Zinhle and Zonke Dikana.

What makes Kalawa Jazmee stand out from the rest is their investment in the growth and development of their artists. They offer their artists more than a record label; Kalawa has always helped artists nurture their own brand and have supported them in their efforts to become independent.

“We are on top of our game because we know it’s important to sustain artists and to grow and develop your business by supporting young artists,” says Oskido.

 

 

Even after years of being in the industry, Kalawa Jazmee continues to churn out music that is relevant and authentically South African. When it comes to quality, Kalawa Jazmee has never compromised. Their success can be attributed to business savvy, tenacity and an ability to recognise what will be a hit with their audience. One thing that Oskido believes is important is being in tune with what the audience wants so that he can effectively cater to their tastes.

 

Investing in the Future of Music

Kalawa Jazmee is one of the most consistent record labels in South Africa. They have grown from strength to strength, and it does not seem like they will be slowing down anytime soon. In fact, they are in the process of developing a massive music hub. In 1994, Oskido and his partners purchased a piece of land, which Oskido describes as the “original Kalawa Jazmee offices”. The hub will be built on this land and will include accommodation, offices, an academy, a hall and several studios.

“The projects will cost many millions over a number of years but it is important to do because this is the home of Kalawa Jazmee. Besides developing the future of the label through the academy, we are telling the story of our history,” says Oskido.

In addition to releasing the hottest tracks, Kalawa Jazmee runs the I Believe programme in collaboration with the National Youth Development Agency and, under its auspices, has served as an incubator for the development of new talent.

As Oskido once said, Kalawa Jazmee is not going anywhere! Kalawa, we salute you for your commitment to nurturing and supporting talented young people. May you continue to reach great heights as you continue to build one of the biggest brands in the South African music industry.