Emmanuel Mojalefa Matsane, famously known as Mjokes, passed away in a car accident in the early hours of Sunday, May 23. Mjokes, a member of the legendary Soweto kwaito group Trompies, was reportedly returning from a performance with his fellow members at the time of the fatal car accident. Trompies is one of the best kwaito groups to come out of South Africa, and the loss has been deeply felt by music lovers.
Kalawa Jazzmee, a music production label famous for being home to South Africa’s best kwaito, afropop, and house music artists confirmed news of Mjoke’s death in an official press release this past Sunday morning. According to IOL, Mjokes passed away in the early hours of Sunday morning after performing in Meadowlands, Soweto. Just a week before his death, he had released his new single titled “Phansi Nge Ndlondlo”. At the time of his death, Mjokes had been making music for close to 30 years and stood out for his fun, big personality and voice. He led many of Trompies’ timeless hits such as “Bengimngaka”, “Fohloza”, “Sweety Lavo”, “Zodwa” and “Current”. In 2008 Mjokes dropped his debut solo album Nga-le Way, followed by his 2010 sophomore album Cultural House.
Trompies member Eugene Mthethwa said he still could not believe that Mjokes had passed away, adding that he had been hoping that it was a bad Twitter rumour. Radio and house music artist DJ Sbu took to social media to share his shock , while Kwaito DJ and Trompies member Mahoota called for Mjokes to be remembered through his latest single “Phansi Nge Ndlondlo”. Twitter tributes continue to flow in under #RIPMjokes.
Trompies was formed in the early 90s during the insurgence of the kwaito sound, and started churning out hits from 1995. The remaining members of the group are Mandla “Spikiri” Mofokeng, Eugene “Donald Duck” Mthethwa, Jairus “Jakarumba” Nkwe and Zynne “Mahoota” Sibika. Their debut album Sigiya Ngengoma was an instant hit, reaching more than half a million sales upon its release. Trompies then followed with other successful albums — Shosholoza, Delicious, Can’t Touch This, Mapantsula and Respect Toasted Gona’ Ganati.
Inspired by life in Soweto, the group was also known for its colourful distinct fashion which, in turn, influenced the popularity of famous brands such as Converse and Dickies.
Here are five songs that clearly showcase Mjoke’s great talent.
1. Sweety Lavo from Shosholoza.
This sweet 1998 hit single about a lovers quarrel quickly became a staple at parties.
Trompies – Sweety Lavo
2. “Fohloza” from Mampantsula.
This was yet another hit from Trompies, a fun track about loving big bodied women.
Trompies – Fohloza
This number is a wedding and festivities go-to track. The catchy sing along song carried by Mjokes also saw the birth of many variations of the train dance to it.
4. Nga-le way from from Nga-le Way
This underrated dance number was released in 2008.
5. “Phanse Nge Ndlondlo”
This last smooth single by Mjokes is a fitting goodbye as it consolidates the early rhythms and beats of Kwaito quite well- yet sounds strangely current.
Phanse Nge Ndlondlo