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From Prison/ibhantinti to Platinum Superstar Sama Awards King - Nathi Mankayi

Jun 8 '16 | By La Afrique Media | Views: 744 | Comments: 0

His single Nomvula has been downloaded by thousands of fans after its release in April this year.

He is one of a few artists whose album has gone platinum in a matter of weeks.

His album Buyelekhaya, which is sitting on triple platinum, went platinum within six weeks of its release.

It has sold just over 128000 units to date.

Mankayi wishes to have sold 250000 units by the end of the year.

He has captured the hearts of Mzansi folk, but regrets not realising his potential earlier.

Mankayi hails from a small town, Maclear, in the Eastern Cape, near the Mooi River.

He describes his home town as a small village with unseen talent that lead many of the youth to substance abuse. Although this was not up his alley, he landed himself in a whole lot of trouble.

The musician says his dreams of going to an arts school were shattered in 2002 when he was involved in an armed robbery.

He explains that he and a couple of friends robbed a person in his township.

"One of the guys we were with tried to shoot the person but the gun wouldn't fire, so we decided to take his wallet..."

Nathi says they were all arrested after the victim recognised one of the culprits and pointed them out to the police.

He was held at Maclear police station where he and his friends managed to escape. "After escaping from the holding cells I ran to Jozi but decided in 2003 to hand myself over," he says.

In 2006 after awaiting trial he was sentenced to eight years imprisonment, four years suspended.

The experience taught him key lessons about life. "Never allow your life to be ruled by friends. If it wasn't for friends I am sure I was not going to do the robbery. I still regret it," he says.

Mankayi says he knew from age 10 that he would be a singer. "I grew up in a Christian family. We would sing before we pray every night. We took turns opening each prayer session with a song and that's when my singing talent started," he says.

"To be honest no one discovered me besides the fact that I entered a local competition called Dare to Dream in 2011 and I lost it to my younger sister Amanda. I only won in 2012 when I entered for the second time," says the muso.

The musician, who is also a painter and a sculptor, says he managed to teach himself these skills and loves making beautiful things using his hands.

"Whenever I take a break from music I make sure that I do some paintings and some of my work is displayed at an art gallery in Eastern Cape," he says.

Back to what he is known for, Mankayi says: "My sister, Thembisa, brought a tape recorder to record me singing. She took that to work to play for her colleagues. They were really impressed with my singing."

Mankayi says he used to listen to the then popular SABC1 traditional music show Ezodumo.

"I would memorise the songs and sing to my family after the show and everybody at home knew where I was heading to," says Mankayi.

Reflecting on his primary school days, he says: "I was a very reserved child in class, but it was a different story when I was around my friends. Even though I was a stout kid, I always respected elderly people. I also used to partake in boxing and karate. I was never a rugby or soccer player," he says.

He explains the joys of growing up with his five siblings and mom, Nothembile Mankayi, who raised them single-handedly.

"She woke up every morning to sell fruit in town to feed the whole family," he says.

Mankayi says he appreciates the tremendous support he is getting from his "lovely" fans.

"When I go to the shops my fans stop me for selfies and I'm very thankful. To be honest I didn't think I was going to make it this far, but I knew I wanted to be a respected musician," he says.

His debut album Buyelekhaya is available in all leading music retail stores nationwide.

He plans to record a second album with his sister Amanda next year.


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