Makhendlas Commits Suicide

Makhendlas, who’s real name is Oupa Makofate shot himself in the head Saturday October 31st. Kwaito, which is a rap derived South African form of music blends Hip-Hop Rave and R&B, and has taken off since the fall of Apartheid.

Apparently, he was upset that he shot and wounded an abusive concert goer at a stadium near Nelspruit, about 185 miles East of Johannesburg. The shooting highlights light security and violence that sometimes come with the Kwaito concerts (as it does happen here in the U.S.). Just as Gangster rap made millionaires out of artists over here, the same trend is happening overseas, with black owned record labels and radio stations popping up. Most of the lyrics are in Iscamtho, a street lingo that combines African languages, including Afrikaans, and English. It is said to be named after a township gang, the Amakwaito, or the Afrikaans word “kwai,” or “cool.”

The songs deal with the gritty life in the impoverished townships where jobs are few and crime is rampant, but lack the violence and sexism that accompanies some of the American Rap. According to the musician’s manager, Mpho Makhetha, three or four drunken men slipped through security backstage before the concert and began harassing the musicians. Mafokate intervened and the men began swearing at him. The manager said Mafokate drew a gun and fired a warning shot, but by accident shot one of the men. “I guess Oupa thought at the time he had killed the guy. That’s why he did what he did,” the manager said. “He was doing so well career-wise. He was the father of a 4-month-old boy.” The man Mafokate shot was recovering in hospital, and was not seriously wounded. It was unclear what happened to the other men. Industry sources said they were surprised that the musician was carrying a gun, because he was known as peace-loving person. Yet many musicians feel they’re poorly protected and complain that promoters won’t pay for proper security. The Soweto-born Mafokate, 27, was emerging as one of South Africa’s top kwaito stars.

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