Gospel great Lindelani Mkhize honoured with Lifetime Achievers Award

Lindelani Mkhize (PHOTO: Image: facebook.com, @igniteconcertSA )

Lindelani Mkhize is widely known in the African continent as one of the founders of the Gospel giant Joyous Celebration. He is credited with unearthing and shaping the talent of many of our Gospel musicians. It is for this contribution among other roles he plays in the music industry that he was recently awarded the Lifetime Achievers Award at the South African Music Awards.

Mkhize was born and raised in Umlazi by a single mother. His introduction to music was as a drummer in his local church and from watching his mother conducting the church choir. From these humble beginnings he went on to obtain a degree in music unbeknown to his mother who had sent him to university to study engineering. He credits Sello “Chicco” Twala as the one who discovered him. Sello opened his home to the young protégé and taught him about the intricacies of the music industry.

He was first introduced to the South African public through Joyous Celebration. Viewers joined him in dance and song as we watched him conducting the famous choir. Joyous Celebration was conceptualised in 1994 by Mthunzi Namba; Jabu Hlongwane and Lindelani Mkhize. They met in church rallies where they were competing. Their groups won all the Gospel competitions. They then decided to work together in various projects.

 In 1994 there was a sense of victory and a newfound hope for South Africa following the elections. There was much jubilation in the air and to commemorate this special time the trio hosted a once off celebration of the birth of a new democratic South Africa. They named the event Joyous Celebration. Two years later they worked on their first Joyous Celebration CD.

“I was looking for real singers to give them a platform to groom them, train them teach and prepare them to run on their own. Joyous is an institution to help them with that. Every 2nd year we go out there auditioning for new talent. It’s not a group because the faces keep on changing. We are excited when we look at the music landscape to realise that 60% of them have passed on the Joyous stage.”

This year marks 25 years of Joyous Celebration. Their 25th album is called Still We Rise Live at the Joburg Theatre. They have branched internationally with their single named Thank You Lord which was released last month.

“After all the experiences of the past 25 years and the changes in the world and new dynamics in the industry, we are delighted to be in this new direction with a fresh new purpose. We are revived, we have a new energy as we turn things around to get to the next extraordinary level,” Lindelani shared.

Mkhize is known as the father of entertainment in South Africa because of his contribution in many South African music genres. He was headhunted by Sony Music Entertainment, commonly known as Sony Music to introduce Sony Music to South Africa. Lindelani decided to introduce a fresh sound and Kwaito and Afro Pop were born. Popular Afro pop groups such as Bongo Muffin; Mafikizolo and Malaika became household names. There are many legendary names that Lindelani worked with in the South African music landscape, namely Sibongile Khumalo, Don Laka, Mdu Masilela and the world renowned Hugh Masekela and Caiphus Semenya among others.

One of Mkhize’s goals in the entertainment industry has been to develop African talent. He has managed to carry out this mission and purpose through many platforms. Joyous Celebration has become an institution where undiscovered talent is unearthed; nurtured and trained in the many aspects of the music industry from music production to how to conduct oneself as an artist. Mkhize has nurtured and developed talent in two reality shows — I Want to Sing Gospel and Clash of the Choirs — where he served as a judge and a producer. The prize for the winners was a recording deal in his company, Lindelani Mkhize Entertainment.

For his 50th birthday he chose to give back by introducing a two-day production called Ignite. This was a platform to showcase talent from different genres, not just Gospel. Some of the artistes that were discovered through Ignite are working in various aspects of the entertainment industry, including television and film.  

Lindelani has received many accolades in his career including the Crown Gospel Life Achiever Award. He has also been honoured with an honorary doctorate of Philosophy in Community Development from the University of Zululand. 

His interests and career spans to other industries and fields, including property; engineering and retail.

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