Kwesta Sues Major Telecoms Company

The rapper and his colleagues want what is theirs

By  | Jun 01, 2021, 08:39 AM  | Kwesta  | Top of the

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South African rapper Kwesta and American rapper Wale are reportedly fighting for what is theirs with network provider Telkom.

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The 'Ngyazifela Ngawe' hitmaker, Wale's record company Sheer Music and Bridge IP that represents producer Neo Makwa (aka Makwa Beats) have taken Telkom and two other companies to court over unpaid royalties for the hit song 'Spirit' which was used in Telkom's prepaid advert.

The two companies, Wunderman Marketing and Wunderman Thompson, as well as Telkom, reportedly owe R859 500 which was for using the song in the advert on radio, TV and Telkom’s YouTube channel for 20 months, and R702 000 in its Behind the Scenes short film which went viral on the internet. In total, royalties owed amount to over R1.5-million - this according to Sunday World.

The publication further reports that Wunderman Marketing and Wunderman Thompson were responsible for producing the “Prepaid Z’khipha More” advert for Telkom in May 2018 and used the song in a short film titled Behind the Scenes. This advert ran from May 2018 to February 2020 without the authorisation of the Sheer Music, Bridge IP, Kwesta, Wale or Makwa.

As a result, Telkom, Wunderman Marketing and Wunderman Thompson infringed on the copyright of the song.

Sunday World further reports that the companies approached the telecoms company and its partners, demanding that over R1.5-million be paid to them, with 83% going to Sheer and 16.6% to Bridge IP, all of this excluding value added tax, but they were unsuccessful.

Last week, the two companies asked the Johannesburg High Court to grant them judgements against the three companies in order to get them to pay.

When Sunday World approached Telkom spokesperson Moeketsi Mocumi, he said the telecoms company was not in a position to comment because the matter is now before court.

“The matter between Sheer Music and Bridge IP against Wunderman is currently the subject of pending litigation. Telkom is aware of the claim as it has been cited as a defendant in the matter.” he explained to the publication.

This is not the first battle Kwesta has had to fight with a major corporation where his hit song 'Spirit' is concerned. In September last year, BMW South Africa for Heritage Month released an ad celebrating the iconic Gusheshe, the Grootman of BMW vehicles, and for the music the ad had a remake of Kwesta's smash hit song Spirit featuring Wale playing in the background, albeit only the beginning of the song was used.

Taking to social media to address this, Kwesta wrote, "Do the right thing!!! It took so much effort from so many people to get the rights to sample that song. We did the right thing because we understood the value of the art! This ad cheapens all of those efforts. DO THE RIGHT THING FOR 'The Grootmans".

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Image credit: Instagram 

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