Observer on Saturday - - Lifestyle & Entertainment -

n Au­gust 1997, an un­likely gem was born from the re­mote area of Khuphuka un­der Hlane Inkhund­laintheKing­do­mofSwazi­land.

The­group;Shong­we­andKhu­phuka Saved, was to later be­come a house­hold name in the gospel mu­sic cir­cles and raked in sev­eral hon­ours lo­cally and be­yond.

Seem­ingly 20 years later, this group is still on an upward tra­jec­tory as their re­cen­tal­bum re­leased in Au­gust has now reached gold sta­tus. To be clas­si­fied as hav­ing at­tained gold sta­tus, al­bum sales should have reached over 20 000 as de­fined by theRecord­ingIn­dus­try­ofSouthAfrica (RiSA) . This means the fa­mous artist of

fame achieved such un­prece­dented feat in a space of hardly two months since re­leas­ing his al­bum.

The much ac­claimed group de­buted with‘MySins’(Izono 1997.

These days have been quite busy for the lik­able but hum­ble artist with sev­eral shows lined up for them, in­clud­ing in the pro­mo­tion of the new E10 and E200 notes by Um­ntsholi We­maSwati – Cen­tral Bank of Swazi­land.

Last Sat­ur­day Shongwe per­formed in Pigg’s Peak at the Tru Pep Arena dur­ing a road­show or­gan­ised by Sin­cepheteloMo­torVe­hi­cleAc­ci­dents Fund (SMVAF) where he fur­ther cel- ebrated his re­cent suc­cesses.

But he is plan­ning a big party to cel­e­brate his achieve­ment, not­ing it made him re­alise he had to con­tinue do­ing what im­pressed fans and fol­low­ers of gospel mu­sic at large.

He con­cedes that the plau­dits com­ing his way over the years have of­ten sur­prised him but his prayer through it all, he noted, is to re­main hum­ble and true to his call­ing of serv­ing the fans du­ti­fully and dili­gently.

It is in that re­gard that he is plan­ning the big cel­e­bra­tion as a way of pay­ing trib­ute to his fans that have re­mained loyal to Shongwe and Khuphuka’s mu­sic over the years.

“In fact even such in­vi­ta­tions from the cor­po­rate sec­tor are a vote of con­fi­dence in our work which we ap­pre­ci­ate so much. It is hum­bling when af­ter all these years peo­ple still take time to lis­ten to what you have to of­fer them and agree to in­dulge in it.

“Our sin­cere prom­ise or un­der­tak­ing is that we will con­tinue giv­ing out the best to them through re­main­ing true to the call­ing whilst also pro­duc­ing hit songs,” he says.

The beat goes on in De­cem­ber 16 as the group has been booked to per­form in Ermelo, SA, at the El Shad­dai Taber­na­cle­whereMpumalan­gaPraise would be launch­ing their new CD

ISiyabonga Jesu

and DVD.

The busy sched­ule for the group has seen them tour­ing a num­ber of prov­inces in SA, in­clud­ing Cape Town re­cently where the group ser­e­naded South Africans and left them yearn­ing for more.

Lest we for­get, Shongwe and Khuphuka is the only lo­cal mu­sic group to have ap­peared on CNN (Ca­ble News Net­work - an Amer­i­can ba­sic ca­ble and satel­lite tele­vi­sion news chan­nel owned by the Turner Broad­cast­ing Sys­tem).

One of the pop­u­lar tracks in the re­cent al­bum is track two;

which en­cour­ages one not to de­spair or give up as day­time or break­through in what­ev­er­si­t­u­a­tion­the­lis­tener­is­fac­ing­would even­tu­ally come to an end. Equally, loved by many is track six,

(I have a deal with Je­ho­vah) where the artist notes that the suc­cesses should be at­trib­uted to God and no one else. It is un­like that Shongwe is either a crook or ashep­ut­sitinthetrack­but­suc­ceed­ing be­cause of full de­pen­dence on God who sus­tains him. An up-tempo beat is

(track four) which is about rem­i­nisc­ing about the joy El­iz­a­beth felt af­ter meet­ing Mary the mother of Je­sus in

Luke 1: 41

‘WhenEl­iz­a­beth­heardMary’sgreet­ing, the baby (Je­sus) leaped in her womb, and ... But why am I so favoured, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?’


[verse 43]


Rev­erend Elias Shongwe formed his group around 1996, which saw them re­leas­ing their de­but al­bum a year later. Dur­ing the ini­tial stages hewas­work­ing­with­SiphoMakha­bane, Di­rec­tor of Big Fish Mu­sic who was at the time run­ning Amanxusa Mu­sic Pro­duc­tions.

Now in the lat­est al­bum the friend­ship and part­ner­ship be­tween the two has been reignited once more as Big Fish Mu­sic would be han­dling dis­tribut­ing of along­side Shongwe Mu­sic.

Re­flect­ing back to the times they started out and the pe­riod spent min­is­ter­ing in song, he says, they are mo­ti­vated to per­se­vere against all odds. Bantu Bana­muhla Umh­laba Khetha Asim­bambe Wen­zeni Emh­labeni Best of Shongwe and Khuphuka Saved Vol­ume 1 Uza­wukhona Na? Kuya­siza Ukuzikhuza Kuhle Kukholwa Nelethu Lih­latjiwe (solo al­bum by Rev Shongwe)

Best of Shongwe and Khuphuka (Live CD/DVD record­ing)

2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2015 2016



2017 one Qinise­lani Maqhawe Thu­laA­mazu­luAkub­hek­ile Kungu­musa kaJesu UJe­hova Uvu­mile Un­ga­vi­vaphi (Do not give

Some of the group’s al­bums have reached dou­ble-plat­inum sales such as and plat­inum while oth­ers achieved gold sta­tuses such as and the

The group has won sev­eral awards such as Swazi Tele­com Song of the Year (Swazi­land Na­tional Coun­cil of Arts and Cul­ture Awards), Best Gospel Tra­di­tional Song (Glory Awards),Son­goftheYear(Swazi­land Gospel Mu­sic Awards), Ap­pre­ci­a­tion and Com­men­da­tion for Sup­port­ing (Har­vest FM Le­sotho), Best Gospel Tra­di­tional Song 1999.

In last year’s Swazi­land Gospel Awards, Shongwe and Khuphuka scooped the Al­bum of the Year award for (‘Do not give up’). Shongwe and Khuphuka Saved was nom­i­nated for the SABC Gospel CrownAwards(BestAfricanGospel) and South African Mu­sic Awards (Best Tra­di­tional Gospel).

Their stay­ing power, strength and re­silience are just not in doubt since de­but­ing in 1997. The group was pre­vi­ous­ly­man­aged­byA­manxusaMu­sic Pro­duc­tions, then CCP Records and now falls un­der Shongwe Mu­sic Pro­duc­tions,whosedi­rec­torisRev­erend Elias M. Shongwe.

Some of the al­bums are avail­able on iTunes; and

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