Kalawa Jazmee, the iconic home of kwaito, is no more.
The record label that yielded stars of a generation and a youthful soundtrack post-1994 has been swallowed up by a major record company.
iMzansi understands that the deal, cloaked in secrecy until now, is not a direct buyout. It’s housed under a new company, Tacwise, of which Universal Music owns 51%. The remainder is in the hands of Dangerous Combination – owned by Oscar “Oskido” Mdlongwa, Mandla “Spikiri” Mofokeng, Emmanuel “Mjokes” Matsane, Zynne “Mahoota” Sibika and Bruce “Dope” Sebitlo.
According to the contract, Mdlongwa and company walk away with R28-million from a deal worth about R50-million. In addition, Dangerous Combination members have each received an executive position in the new company.
Kalawa was a 20-year-old hit factory that boasted a catalogue of kwaito superstars such as Thebe, Professor, DBN Nyts, Mafikizolo and Alaska.
Some of the most popular bands to come out of the stable were Brothers of Peace, Boom Shaka, Bongo Maffin and Trompies.
Kalawa Jazmee was the result of a merger between two record labels: Kalawa – formed by Christos Katsaitis, Don Laka, Sebitlo and Mdlongwa – and Jazmee, established by Jairus “Jakarumba” Nkwe, Eugene “Donald Duck” Mthethwa, Matsane, Sibika and Mofokeng.
But the executives are tight-lipped about the transaction.
When called for comment, Mahoota said they would never sell Kalawa, and insisted that they had just renewed its licensing relationship with the recording giant.
Mdlongwa dismissed the story as a “rumour”, as did Dharam Sewraj of Universal.
Reports of tensions in the Kalawa camp have surfaced in the recent past. Last year, City Press reported that the five co-founders were no longer seeing eye to eye. The disagreements were over money and the direction of their music.
When interviewed, the musicians denied any clashes while Matsane acknowledged that “disagreements are a natural part of life. People are different, but there is no disagreement that is a threat to the label.”
It was reported that the fallout was so serious that the record label bosses were trying to outdo each other.