Inside John Vuli Gate Hitmaker Mapara A Jazz’s Struggle: ‘We Started As ‘MaBen10’

Two Brothers Fight Over John Vuli Gate Song Ownership

Inside John Vuli Gate Hitmaker Mapara A Jazz ‘s Struggle: ‘We Started As ‘MaBen10’

After a video of five ladies dancing to the song John Vuli Gate at a petrol station went viral, the song has taken Mzansi by storm.

Social media became awash with vidoes tagged the John Vuli Gate challenge, which added to the popularity of the song. This has also resulted in a lot of interest for the people behind the song, as many South Africans want to know who exactly is Mapara A Jazz.

The John Vuli Gate song is the brainchild of Mano Nephawe (29) and Leornard Malatji (31) and it was released in July. The Pretoria, Mamelodi (Pheli) duo who constitute Mapara A Jazz revealed that when they started out they used to call themselves ‘MaBen10’.

When they started around 2007, they were teenagers and they were mostly playing in taverns and tents in order to eke out a living. The two will be the first to admit that the journey was rocky and that they would have given up if they did not believe that their time was coming.

John Vuli gate

In an interview with Drum Magazine, Mapara A Jazz said,

“We have survived all these years with the little we have made from taverns, parties in tents, where we get R1000, R2000, or R3000 at most to perform or when we host gigs entrance being R10 or R20.”

“…Honestly speaking we told ourselves that our time will come, that is why we never gave up. But then because it has been so long waiting for this, we are like, WOW!”

The duo finally got their big break when they collaborated with Ntosh Gazi & Colano to produce the scorcher. When the duo got into the studio with Ntosh Gazi and Colano for the first time they say that the chemistry was magical and it’s not surprising that it led to the hit song.

The song even got a seal of approval from the Scorpion Kings, DJ Maphorisa and Kabza de Small.

The musicians said that they have since changed their name from “MaBen10” because they are now all grown. The word “Mapara” loosely translates to “Top-Dog”.

Mapara also advised aspiring musicians not to give up on their dreams.

“Keep on keeping on. Don’t give up because if you do give up you will not get what you want. You need to have patience and you need to love it even if you are not making money. Life in the studio is beautiful.”

The John Vuli Gate song was inspired by an iconic line from the 2005 Grammy award-winning South African movie, Tsotsi.

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