Zakes Bantwini

Zakes Bantwini (born Zakhele Madida) is a South African musician, record producer and record executive whose work include producing L’vovo Derrango‘s debut album. He founded an independent record company, Mayonie Produktions and is credited with discovering Durban Kwaito star, L’vovo Derrango. Zakes Bantwini gained further acclaim for his collaboration with DJ Black Coffee in the hit song “Juju” and with the release of his album, The Fake Book and Real Book: My Music Bible.

Zakes Bantwini
Born Zakhele Madida
May 26, 1981
KwaMashu, Durban
South Africa
Known As Zakes Bantwini
Education DUT
Occupation Musician
Record Producer
Record Executive
Genre Dance, House, Kwaito
Since 2004 – to date
Record Label Sony Music Africa
Mayonie Produktions
Soulistic Music
Associated Acts DJ Black Coffee
L’vovo Derrango
Themba Mkhize
Agent Unknown
Website Unknown

Zakes Bantwini was born Zakhele Madida in the F-Section of KwaMashu township in Durban in the KwaZulu-Natal province of South Africa.

The name “Zakes” is a nickname derived from his first name “Zakhele”;  “Bantwini is from my friends because I’m a people’s person” – he said in a 2011 interview with the City Press.

He was raised in KwaMashu where he initially lived in a two-roomed house with thirteen other people.

In a 2013 interview with TONIGHT of Independent Newspapers, Zakes Bantwini was quoted saying “At one stage there were 14 people living in our two-roomed house. We would take turns sleeping. I had uncles who used to work 6-to-6 shifts. It was one of the most amazing times of my life. I never knew how bad things were”.

Zakes Bantwini later moved into a six-roomed house bought by his mother; “Then when my mother got a job as a teacher she bought a six-roomed house. Can you imagine?” he was quoted in the same interview.

His mother was diagnosed with cancer and passed away in 2007; this is mentioned at the end of his hit song, Ghetto,  “Yeah man, dreams delayed are no dreams denied. This is what my mother used to say before she passed in 2007. She could even live to see what I’ve achieved.”

Zakes Bantwini went to Shayamoya Junior Primary School in KwaMashu township. He later attended Nqabakazulu High School.

He obtained a National Certificate in Light Music at Technikon Natal, today’s Durban University of Technology (DUT).

Zakes Bantwini studied Jazz and Music Performance at the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN) in Durban, KwaZulu-Natal.

He also studied a Social Entrepreneurship Programme (SEP) at Gordon Institute of Business Science, University of Pretoria.

In 2004 Zakes Bantwini founded an independent record company, Mayonie Produktions. The company has since introduced multiple artists to the music scene, among others; Beezory, Shon G, the late Andile Mseleku, Museeq IQ  and the boy wonder L’vovo Derrango.

Zakes Bantwini works closely with fellow Durbanite DJ Black Coffee, with whom he collaborated on the hit song “Juju”; L’vovo Derrango left Mayonie Productions at the height of his fame. In 2014 he was a guest on’s Nicky Greenwall hosted Screentime with Nicky Greenwall.


Mayonie Produktions

Zakes Bantwini is the record producer, singer, dancer, choreographer and record label executive. Before he released any album of his own, Zakes Bantwini was well known as the founder of Mayonie Produktions responsible for the career of famed Durban based kwaito artist L’vovo Derrango.

Mayonie ProduktionsHe founded Mayonie Produktions in 2004 while doing his final year of studying music at Durban University of Technology (formerly known as Technikon Natal).

Talking about the founding of Mayonie Produktions, Zakes Bantwini was quoted saying “I didn’t want to go to a record company with my demo tape and ask for them to sign me as their artist. It made sense for me to look for talent and then after signing the artist, I would go and negotiate for their deal – while at the same time I am actively involved in promoting my artist”.


Music Career as a Recording Artist

In 2009 Zakes Bantwini was featured in DJ Black Coffee‘s album titled Home Brewed in a hit song “Juju”. The song was nominated in the Record of the Year category at the 16th Annual South African Music Awards (SAMA 16).

The Fake Book & Real Book: My Music BibleIn 2010 Zakes Bantwini released his debut studio album titled; Love, Light and Music Song. The album was a critical success and it featured hit songs such as “Bum Bum”, “Clap Your Hands” and “Wasting My Time”.

In 2011 at the 17th Annual South African Music Awards (SAMA 17) – through the album; Love, Light and Music Song – Zakes Bantwini earned four nominations: Best Urban Dance Album, Record of the year for “Bum Bum”, Album of the year and Male Artist of the year. On June 16, 2012 Zakes Bantwini recorded his live DVD Upfront with Zakes Bantwini at the Soweto Theatre, in Jabulani, Soweto, Johannesburg in Gauteng.

The live session was recorded through an integrated 14-camera team and featured a 13-piece band, dancers and multiple guest performers. In 2013 Zakes Bantwini released his second studio album, The Fake Book and Real Book: My Music Bible. In 2014 the album was nominated in the Best Dance Album category at the 20th South African Music Awards (SAMA 20).


Other Work

In 2013 Zakes Bantwini served as one of seven choirmasters on Mzansi Magic’s Bonang Matheba hosted Clash of the Choirs. He mentored choirs from Gauteng province. In 2014 Zakes Bantwini was appointed the executive head of artists and repertoire (A&R) at Sony Music Entertainment Africa (SME Africa).


Durban Kwaito Music (DKM)

Zakes Bantwini is credited as one of the people who (whose musical talent helped inspire) and introduced Durban Kwaito Music (DKM). In many writings and publications “Durban Kwaito Music” (sometimes called to as “Durban Kwaito”) has often been referred to as a “genre” but it is important to note that artists whose music fall under that “genre” – their music is still viewed and described as “Kwaito” which makes “Durban Kwaito Music” a “sub-genre” of “Kwaito” rather than a “genre”. Durban Kwaito Music has often been described as a mixture of House beats and Kwaito lyrics.




Year Title Record Label Notes
2010 Love, Light and Music Song Soulistic Music Debut Album
2012 Upfront with Zakes Bantwini Mayonie Produktions/ Sony Music Africa Live DVD
2013 The Fake Book & Real Book: My Music Bible Sony Music Africa 2nd Album



Personal Life

In October 2013 the Sunday World reported that Zakes Bantwini is in a relationship with Nandi Mngoma South African singer from Durban, KwaZulu-Natal.

Zakes Bantwini and Nandi MngomaThe article opened with “Nandi Mngoma and Zakes Bantwini sitting on a tree k.i.s.s.i.n.g” and concluded with a denial from Nandi Mngoma who was quoted saying “I am not with Zakes. You know the industry, we only worked on a song together. But I am not surprised. Whoever I work with will say that I am dating him. If it’s not Kent, it’s Franky. But I tell you what let me get back to you”

Zakes Bantwini failed to confirm or deny the existence of the relationship at the time. In May 2014 new reports emerged claiming that made attempts to set up Lobola negotiations with the Mngomas (Nandi Mngoma‘s family) but they refused to set a date citing her age and unfinished studies as the reasons. Zakes Bantwini and Nandi Mngoma have consistently evaded discussing or confirming the existence of their relationship.


Alleged Feud with DJ Black Coffee

In September 2013 the Sunday Sun reported that Zakes Bantwini and DJ Black Coffee were not on speaking terms “due to the politics of music and attitudes”.

Zakes Bantwini and DJ Black CoffeeThe pair collaborated on the SAMA nominated 2009 hit song “Juju” which formed part of DJ Black Coffee‘s critically acclaimed album, Home Brewed.

The Sunday Sun article quoted a source “When the pair went into a 50/50 partnership, following the success of their collaboration on the track Juju, everything was cool – until Zakes let his ego get the better of him. He expected Black Coffee to treat him like a superstar after he finished recording his Upfront With Zakes Bantwini DVD at the Durban ICC”.

“Zakes wanted Black Coffee to release his DVD under his Soulistic Music stable, but Black Coffee refused to do that because he was gatvol with Zakes’ attitude” the Sunday Sun article quoted an alleged source.

According to that article, Zakes Bantwini responded by saying “Both Black Coffee and myself are already signed to our own independent labels, so at the time of producing Upfront with Zakes Bantwini, talks with Sony on DVD distribution were already underway. There’s no animosity between us. Black Coffee is like a brother to me and we had fun working on each other’s DVD projects”. While DJ Black Coffee reportedly responded by saying “I refused to release his DVD under my stable. In fact, I have a problem with you as a journalist”.