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The Curious Case of Makhadzi and Zahara

Venda's energetic performer Makhadzi was riding the wave of success, releasing chart-topping hits, sending the world into a twirl. Her m...

Venda's energetic performer Makhadzi was riding the wave of success, releasing chart-topping hits, sending the world into a twirl. Her musical offerings attained millions of views. 

But in a flash, her rising status suddenly crumbled down, without any warning.

Her clash with former manager Rita Dee Nephawe turned into social media combat over outstanding royalties. At the height of the conflict, her two popular videos disappeared from YouTube, allegedly deleted by Rita, her manager. Riyavenda had attained 10 million views, while the danceable “Matoroski” had surpassed 8 million views.

The episode sent her into depression, the singer born Ndivhuzannyi Ralivhona wrote. She claims to have slipped into a state of despair after months of watching her manager spend and enjoy her money.

“The only thing I did was to ask my money from my ex-manager for my previous album Matrokisi [sic], and money for my royalties,” Makhadzi vented her anger on Twitter. “what she did was to claim my money and delete all video from Youtube including Riyavenda 10 million views and Matroksi 8 million views I didn't get a cent from my album.”

During the artist and manager fight, Makhadzi has remained focused on her career. And her situation reminds music fans of the Zahara episode. The Xhosa Afropop singer turned to alcohol because of betrayal, pressure, and frustration during her short career. The indulgence threatened her life, with reports of liver problems.

According to Zahara, her previous record label exploited her, withholding payments to her first three successful albums Loliwe, Pendula, and Country Girl, which sold millions of copies. Further, banks repossessed her properties for non-payment, while she endured the pain. After the crushing episode, Zahara joined another music stable and went on to release a fourth album.
The Curious Case of Makhadzi and Zahara

The two similar cases raise questions over contracts signed between artists and management. Is there any form of exploitation claimed by the artists? But throughout the scuffle, the respective managers argued that they acted above board, though Makhadzi is not convinced.

“If I can die tomorrow everything will be under her name. Meaning I was born to be a slave I am tired,” Makhadzi said. A hashtag to spread her predicament by calling the fall for her manager was in vain.

Love relationships have brought more pain for Makhadzi. Her affair with Master KG ended in pain when she claimed the singer had deflowered her. The two have since parted ways.

The village of Ha-Mashama Tshivhangani is home to Makhadzi, and her rural upbringing could have contributed heavily to her exploitation. And success comes with recognition. Before her fame, she sneaked out to play and dance at shows around Limpopo. Now she travels across South Africa.
Her popularity was buttressed by the release of Matorokisi, in which she says a man cannot love his women without the children. “I sing in Venda, but these people all over the world love my song even though they don’t understand my language, which means they love the beat and the melody.”

Similar to Zahara before her, Makhadzi will definitely rise from the temporary setback.

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