10 Years of Gong (-1993 to 2003+)

Kwaito is a child of many. It has many namesakes with umbilical chords buried in multiple sites across the land. Of its many names, Sghubu is king. It occurred to me recently that Xigubu in Xitsonga is a term that refers not only to the drum for pre-initiation boys, but the drum’s manufacturing process (by the boys), the study of its tonal qualities, a musical repertoire that goes with it as well as accompanying dance practice (taken up and performed by girls) up to inter-village exchanges in the form of competitions (much like inter-township pantsula ‘competitions’).


For years though, Sghubu in isicamtho spoke to Kwaito. This gets very very interesting in my study of Kwaito and South African music histories. Now that Dj Ganyani made ‘Xigubu’ in 2013, with a back-to-the-roots video set towards and in Limpopo (Giyani) with some elements of Xigubu practice, I can connect these dots. The term Sghubu continues in its trajectory, dropped in House lyrics and Kwaito-influenced urban music expressions. It is my belief that in the national collective, the term Sghubu found a home in Kwaito, although it is seemingly a concept that lives beyond any genre in mainstream terms. Elsewhere I wrestle with Sghubu as referred to in Kwaito:

The use of the term Sghubu is a claim to Kwaito’s unofficial name. Sghubu is a hardcore Kwaito banger. However, like the soundsystem in Jamaican communities, Sghubu can equally refer to a physical sound system and a headspace. Interestingly, the term has traveled with the evolution of black dance music since Kwaito, easily heard in most current House offerings.

Some people may remember the early days in the journey of what we have come to accept as Kwaito, when several names were on the table negotiating this then new sound in urban dance. Since 1993 when names flew around, Gong for me remains the underlying Sghubu sound.

Left - right: LM Jam Goes Gong (Ngipompe), LM Jam Goes Gong (LM Jam Goes Goeng), LM Jam (The Second Phase), Let Mdu Jam (The Other Side)

Left – right: LM Jam Goes Gong Ngipompe (1999), LM Jam Goes Gong LM Jam Goes Gong! (1998), LM Jam The Second Phase (1995) and Let Mdu Jam The Other Side (1998).

Big up Lindelani Mkhize behind the spreadsheets, Mdu behind the keys, Joe Nina in melodies and many other children of Gong and D’Gong (the cousins at Kalawa Jazmee). Long live foundations of an evolving black sound.

I am battling to define in words the Gong sound, so here I offer Wa Bua from LM Jam ‘The Second Phase’ (1995).


I have this dynamic growing text/mix on Gong and how it occupied a grootman space in the House of Kwaito. Coming out now-now. Watch this space for reviews on key Gong albums with Mma Tseleng the goat of the road. Listening parties are scheduled for the summer of 2014 celebrating 10 years of Gong!




51 thoughts on “10 Years of Gong (-1993 to 2003+)

  1. I always considered d’Gong to be a mix between Dancehall Reggae and Kwaito. I heard that d’Gong started back in 1992 when Kalawa (before it became Kalawa Jazmee) launched it’s label. Boom Shaka was their first group as they combined R&B, Mid-tempo House, Hip-Hop, and Dancehall Reggae with a little bit of Township Pop. During the Kalawa Jazmee vs 999 Records (Arthur) beef of the late 90s, Oskido and Bruce Dope tried to differentiate the d’Gong sound from Kwaito (in which Arthur coined, though the term could’ve been used before him). I also remember Arthur tried to use the d’Gong label as well with Reggae influenced artists like Stitch.

    • Yes I remember this narrative as well. I am very interested in the ‘sound’ of Gong. I do hear some Dancehall/Reggae but it is so minimal its not as obvious as say, R&B/House/HipHop (the dominant narrative with regard to reference and family tree) in Kwaito. I hear a lot of jazz in it; for me it has an emphasis on piano/keyboard, horns and very bass-driven. Its also quite an instrumental style, with minimal vocals (with effects) unlike ‘Kwaito’. Its almost like the skeleton (or the foundation) of Kwaito. The sleeve notes in the 96 ‘Introducing Gong! – Movin On’ by Lindelani Mkhize and Joe Nina reads “In our quest to grow and develop our sound and also trying hard to avoid abagawuli [biters]…hence the birth of this new style of dance music, GONG SOUND, something for everyone whether you are a sghubu fan, a Jazz fan or an R&B fan, listen carefully there is something for you…”. In the quote/sound i read and hear evidence of Jazz and Kwaito (referred to as Sghubu), perhaps some R&B although i think thats’ too far-fetched. R&B is definitely traceable in vocal Kwaito such as that of Boom Shaka, and some Bongo Maffin (and even more Ragga/Dancehall). At 999 yes Abashante, Zombo and Stitch offered much more Caribbean influences. In the 1995 ‘LM Jam’ by Mdu and Lindelani they describe the project ‘The Second Phase’ as “our own kind of music-jazz fused with dance’ without giving it a name at all. I think they got brave in ’96 to call it Gong but this time Mdu has parted ways. In a way a consistent figure in Gong is Lindelani Mkhize. But its interesting to note that he occupied mostly an executive producer role. Another consistent figure is Donald Duck (Eugene Mthethwa); in ’97 he released ‘Gong Mask’ and in ’99 he offered ‘Gong Master DD’.

      M-Point what is your understanding thus, the distinction at all between D’Gong and Gong? I hear Gong as more instrumental, and outside of Kalawa. D’Gong on the other hand has vocals and it is a position Kalawa tried to take, they even noted this a lot: DCC; A Bad News Production; D’Gong Music – although Mafikizolo mention Gong in their first self-titled album. I think Kwaito itself is too vast to even explore a comparison, but there is something to chew between D’Gong and Gong.

      Thanks btw for your work on putting together an accessible collection of Kwaito out here. i think what is extremelly dynamic is that these narratives has LOADS of gaps. Bonaventure Ndikung expands the ideas of Édouard Glissant that “we shouldn’t relinquish history to historians alone”. These gaps are therefore very useful to keep the conversation going, growin…

      • I was never really aware of a difference between d’Gong and Gong. I just thought that they were the same but just a (early) sub-genre of Kwaito. I remember back in 2000 I was looking at the musica.co.za webstore and they had a CD called “Kwaito vs. d’Gong”. As a foreign fan of Kwaito, it made me curious of what d’Gong was. I later listened to the early Kalawa, 999, and some of the music from Ghetto Ruff and they had artists that did d’Gong.
        Bongo Maffin, B.O.P., Boom Shaka, Mafikizolo, Trybe, Abashante, Stitch, and Skeem were considered to be d’Gong artists. M’du probably did have some d’Gong music but I pictured the LM Jam project as a mix of Jazz and Kwaito (Kwai-Jazz). Don Laka, a former member of Ymage also did this type of music. About Don Laka, I heard that he was also one of the original founders of Kalawa Jazmee but was never really into Kwaito as Bruce, Oskido, and DJ Christos.

        Before LM Jam, I heard that M’du and Joe Nina were a duo called “LA Beat” and they released “Boss of the road” which was one of the very first mid-tempo Kwaito hit came out, possibly around the time of Arthur’s “(Don’t call me a) Kaffir”. I’ve been trying to find those Mid-Tempo tapes or at least some tracks off those compilations. Do you remember Arthur, Tim White’s, and Gabi LeRoux’s “Groove City” and Oskido’s “Mixmasters” tapes ? I only have 2 songs off “Mixmasters” and some of the “Groove City” songs (featuring Chiskop) are somewhere floating around on YouTube.

  2. Hey man sorry for the very late response. Congrats on ‘The Boss of the Road” ! I just saw you post on Kwaito will never die. Yes Don Laka was for sure co-founder. He relates a nice story of living same flat with Oskido, sharing lift, not knowing he is the young man making noise in clubs while secretly hoping to link with DJ’s for something new. He studied in London and enjoyed what Soul II Soul and Jazzie B were doing.

    I have about 3-4 ‘Mixmasters’ and ‘Groove City’ but not any with Chiskop, you are luck! I recently got two tapes of Oskido’s releases ‘Madapaka: Selimathunzi’ and ‘The New Testament/DJs Can’t Dance’. Solid offerings.

    True all that gang identified as dGong. I definately enjoy the Gong side, the instrumental. It was really nice man as a youth growing up and following these sounds and the conversations in studios that spilled into media, radio and other forms, as speculations, testimonies and sleeve notes on the names of the genre. I remember it was me and buddies choice to call it dGong as we were inclined to Kalawa as boss. At the time, although i heard the sound of Lindelani and LM, i did’t see the actual tapes or CD’s so I coulndt read that they identified as Gong and tried to establish the style as distinct. Nontheless as you say they were (early) sub-genres of Kwaito.

    • Bro, I’m in search of the Groove City compilations. Is there, by any chance, that I can a place to purchase them. I am a collector and I would be very much delighted if I can be assisted on this.

      • Hi Msendy. Sorry for responding so late I havent been checking the comments. I really only have 1 copy of each item in my collection. But please send me an email at rangoato@gmail.com and we can make a plan, my nearest store is trustworthy.

  3. Hello,

    I apologize for my late response as well, lol but thank you on the “Boss of the Road” congrats! I will soon make a Mid-Tempo Kwaito mix. About Don Laka being influenced by Soul II Soul, I remember reading about that somewhere. This was evidence that early Kalawa was influenced by American and European House music (with BOP being compared to Masters at Work).

    By the way, remember the accusations from Kalawa Jazmee of Arthur Mafokate copying other artists? For some reason, I compared the rhythm of “Boss of the Road” to Arthur’s “Vuvuzela” (the original). Though pace of the beat was slow, “Vuvuzela” also copied the melodies of Ace of Base’s “All that she want’s (is another baby)”. They both came out in 1993 I believe but not sure which one came out first.

  4. Mixmaster tracks , groove city, la beat, mob house those are real house remix im still playing them even today

  5. Guys thanks u know your music here comes another music guru, I have collected most of Mixmaster’s tracks for an example the track called I got something here and like Zulu and about 30 tracks I have and i have also the the group Introducing Gong yes from L.Mkhize and Joe Nina, Groove City Volume 1 I got and few tracks from Volume 2, I got the track Boss of the road I need the one called the The Boss that was from Dance City infact any who can help me get the following groups, Dance City, Mob City, Mob House, Dance Master, Hip-Hits and LA Beat, LA Groove and Groove Masters i will appreciate a lot buying is not a problem availability and scarcity of those is a problem please guys I also have some collections which some don’t have like a group called Big Jam I do have an album too.

  6. I’m looking for the following guys,DanceIISweat,DanceCity,DanceMaster,Hip-Hits, Mob House,Mob city,LA Groove, LABeat and lastly DanceCrazy please guys I got about 5 albums from Mixmaster, 3 from LM Jam and 1album and 3 tracks from Groove City plus 1album from Introducing Gong and Big Jam please guys help please.

      • Hi Mr Charles with pleasure I would love to help u with any tracks u looking for but I’m not selling music I appreciate when we are all proud of our Music I will contact u as soon as get a chance and all we can do we can exchange albums or tracks cause I hope u also have some albums or tracks I’m looking for.
        Thanks Mr Charles

      • hi oupa. I will real appreciate that. I m looking forward to hear from you. I m alwys available

    • Hi Oupa! I’ve just read some of your comments here in mmatseleng. Com. Pls if u can help me with groove city album, i will help u too with dance city, dance 2 sweat, LA Beat and some tracks from hip hits. Thank u in advance

      • Robert please If you can help me with Dance City,Dance 2 Sweat,and Hip Hits, i am also a collector I might have some tracks you will like

      • Hi Robert I have been waiting for too long to hear from all the guys with some music to exchange until,unfortunately I lost all the collections i have due to not backing up everything i had my laptop just packed up but I manage re-record the groove city volume one and its from a cassette just wondering if u still want it cause a CD was stolen but trying to get some of the music u might need, like LM JAM I,Introducing gong also from a cassette, Mixmaster Snap,C&C Music Factory and more to be checked.

      • Hi Rob, it’s makotse here can we please share those old classics.i also have Dr mageu first album and doc shebeleza ghetsghetsa album.ama’skumfete first album also. my number is 0664528328

      • Guys, please assist. I need to find the artist/group behing the 90’s track called DAMBAI. They could be local. The Rasta Rebels & Dr. Victor covered the version of the same track.


  7. Hi there! im looking for Dance city(especially volume2),Mob city,Mob dance,Mob house,Bovick,House city,Dance masters,Hip hits,Blue boxx
    Groove city,Groove masters,guys I really need of them please help

  8. I’m lerato have looking for groove city, house, dance city,dancemasters etc, those were really house beats from the 90’s

  9. Heita! Im looking for juke box dance to sweat ,hip hits,dance city,groove city ,albums guys i know most of them were casettes they are not even on google i used to think that music was from oor kant eish kanti net hier by mzansi Hlaudi Motshweneng aka re zama gents

  10. hi Donald… can u please help me with groove city & mob house my email is stemmermonageng@gmail.com…i wonder why is it so difficult to get this kind of music made just now in the 90’s whereas you can get mpharanyana’s music made long time ago in the 70’s

  11. hi guys, I have got mixmasters vol 1-7, house masters vol1 & 2, robin s- luv 4 luv and few tracks from black box. I m willing to exchange if you have got groove city, dance city, mob city and L.A beat.

    • Hi Charles I’m Oupa I read about what u want and what u have can u send me your number though my groove city is from a cassette I can help u with it and u help me with house masters please.083 677 5415

  12. Hi guys am a collector please help me with this , juke box dance to sweat ,hip hits,dance city,groove city.La groove and dance masters. ca connextion. whats pp 0798836890

  13. Hi rob, i read your comment here,so i can see that you can help me,its been long time i am trying to seach this albums on a google but nothing to get,i am looking for this albums,l.m jam goes gong 98,dance 2 sweat,dance master,dance city,grove city 1&2,l.a beat,hip hits,mob house,l.a grove,stitch lalala album,so please help my no is,073 908 9797

  14. Rob. I’m also searching for the albums of the following. Big jam vol1,LA beat,Dance II sweat,Groove city, Dj’s choice,Dance Masters,Club Affair,Podesta Party,House City and Jam Masters

    • Hi lumka,this is Eric I have some few tracks of groove city , u can help me with dance 2 sweat ,so we can exchange ,u can whatsapp or call me on 082 422 7885

  15. Hi guys I have some of groove city,dance Master,mix mix master,,any one can help me with groove master ,dance 2 sweat , mix 2 groove and L.M Jam .whatsapp me or contact me on 0824227885

Leave a Reply to charles Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s