A muso who’s all about love and family
It is usually women who sacrifice their careers to take care of the family. But musician and record producer Zakhele Madida, better known by his stage name Zakes Bantwini, is taking a break from the industry to focus on his family.
Bantwini (36) says he values time spent with his family more than anything else in the world.
“I am married, settled and happy. For the first time in my 13 years in the music industry, I am in a good space.”
Last year, he tied the knot with TV presenter and vocalist Nandi Mngoma, after a three-year relationship.
Bantwini says he didn’t feel pressurised to propose because he was waiting for the right time. The arrival of the couple’s now eight-month-old son, Shaka, last year has completed their family.
Bantwini, a proud father of four, admits that he was an absent dad before he made the conscious decision to redefine his priorities. He had acted as a “financial father” to his first three children, who were born out of wedlock.
“Little Shaka made me realise how I missed out on raising my other children. I was never there for them; I thought money was everything. I am trying to correct my mistakes through uShaka.” Bantwini has come to realise that he robbed himself of happiness over the years. He is now appealing to men to be “responsible fathers”.
He maintains that things happen when a man finds love and a true life partner.
“Nandi and Shaka changed my life. Before I met Nandi, I wasn’t careful about life; my decisions weren’t calculated. But they turned my mistakes into a blessing,” he smiles.
On his latest 12-track album called Love, Light and Music 2, released last month, he is open about his vulnerabilities.
Recorded under his independent record label Mayonie Productions, it has received positive feedback from fans and features collaborations with the legendary Hugh Masekela, well-known deejays Maphorisa and Moruti, as well as “new talent”.
The first verse of one of the tracks, Love and Pain, was written by Nandi, who is also a songwriter. “On that song, another female vocalist, Sinenhlanhla Mthembu, wrote the chorus,” adds Bantwini.
“I am happy for women to express themselves about love on my songs because they are the ones who have been hurt the most. I have seen females be so vulnerable in love.”
Asked why he always sings about love, he says growing up in the 1990s, songs of the year were always slow jams.
“I remember how in love people were. People were writing each other love letters and getting married every week.”
He saw a gap in the music market as artists were no longer writing love songs.