Zakes Bantwini Biography: Age, Early Life, Education, Marriage, Career, Awards,1Goal4Cancer, Harvard

A family man who continously releases music to bless the nation.

By  | May 28, 2020, 12:00 PM  | Zakes Bantwini  | Top of The

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Zakhele Madida is popularly known by his stage name Zakes Bantwini.

He is a brilliant singer, songwriter, producer and entertainment business mogul in South Africa.

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He developed the genre known as Durban Kwaito Music (DKM) - a mixture of house beats and Kwaito lyrics.

He has since established a legendary status name in the entertainment industry in South Africa and he is considered to be one of the most educated musicians. 

Here's a look at Zakes Bantwini's biography.

Zakes Bantwini Age

Zakes Bantwinin was born on the 26th of April in 1981. He is 40-years-old. 

Zakes Bantwini Early Life

Zakhele Madida is the name he was given at birth. Today, popularly known as Zakes Bantwini, he was born in KwaMashau F-section in KwaZulu-Natal.

He was raised by both his parents. His father is Jeffrey Khanyile and his mother Nomthandazo Madida.

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At the age of 12, Zakes Bantwini became a father, but despite his early fatherhood, he continued to finish his studies.

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At one point his mother got sick with cancer and he recalled the moment the doctor told him that his mother only had a month to live,

"They told us that if we had money to bury her now we must let her go because she was suffering. But if we did not have the money and would need to raise funds, he would put her on chemotherapy," he reflected. 

Zakes Bantwini organises an annual celebrity competition called 1Goal4Cancer to raise awareness about cancer in honour of his mother. According to the interview he had with Tshisalive, he mentioned,

"I honour her each year because I want her legacy to live on and people to be educated about the dangers of cancer,".

Zakes Bantwini Education

Zakes Bantwini started his formal education at Shayamoya Junior Primary school and furthered his studies at Nqabakazulu High School.

After finishing his matric studies, he enrolled at Natal Technikon - which is today popularly known as Durban University of Technology (DUT) - and he graduated with a national certificate in Light Music.

It was during his university studies that he formed a record label, Mayonie Productions.

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"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," says Zakes.

Zakes Bantwini furthered his studies with the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN) where he graduated with a Diploma in Jazz and Music Performance. He continued his academic progress with studying Social Entrepreneurship Programme at the Gordon Institute of Business Sciences.

Also read: Muzi Mthabela Exits Isibaya

Zakes Bantwini Marriage

Fans got to learn through social media in 2016, that Zakes Bantwini had gotten married to Nandi Madida.

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According to a conversation that Nandi Madida had with Drum Magazine, she said: 

“A lot of people were surprised about the wedding, but not us and especially not my parents. By the time Zakes proposed, my parents already knew because he had asked them for my hand in marriage. So technically I was the last to know,”

Zakes Bantwini and Nandi Madida have got two children, a boy and a girl, that they adore so much.

His son, Shaka Madida was born in November 2016 and his daughter, Queen Nefertiti Madida was born in May 2019.

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Zakes Bantwini Career

Zakes Bantwini is a multitalented producer and a recording artist.

As a dedicated producer, he has signed one of the big names in the Kwaito industry, L'vovo Derango. 

Mayonie Productions

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Zakes Bantwini started his record label while finishing his last year of studying at DUT, in 2004.

 In starting Mayonie Productions, Zakes Bantwini was aiming at creating one of the giant record labels in South Africa and that worked for him. He started recording his music and created songs such as Bum Bum, Wasting My Time and Clap Your Hands.

He released his debut studio album, The Good Life in 2008. Two years later, Zakes Bantwini released his second studio album, Love, Light and Music and this became a leeway to his ultimate success in the Southern African house music industry. 

In 2010, he shared a stage with the award-winning DJ Black Coffee at the Channel O Music Awards. They had a dance-off moment when they performed Black Coffee’s Juju and Zakes Bantwini’s Clap Your Hands

L'vovo Derrango

In 2005, Zakes Bantwini had his first signing when he helped launch the career of a Kwaito legend in South Africa, Thokozani Ndlovu who later changed to his stage name, L’vovo Derrango

L’vovo Derrango released his debut album which was self-titled L’vovo Derrango and the album was well-received and gained both L’vovo Derrango and Mayonie Productions the recognition they deserved. 

L’vovo Derrango scooped the 2007 South African Music Awards (SAMA) for his Kwaito contributions.

That same year, L’vovo Derrango continued to collect awards and he was now recognised by the Metro FM awards, this led to an exponential growth of Mayonie Productions.

Black Coffee

It seems the two, Black Coffee and Zakes Bantwini go way back. 

We've been friends with Black Coffee for so many years and the success of our collaboration on JUJU; we felt it was time for us to work on an album together - Zakes Bantwini

Black Coffee and Zakes Bantwini developed a perfect combination through the collaboration between Zakes Mayonie Productions and Black Coffee Soulistic music.

They worked on Zakes Bantwini's hit-song, Juju

Zakes Bantwini released his second album in 2014. The album had songs that depicted life in the township which also aired on local radio stations a lot. The song features on his album titled The Fake Book & Real Book: My Music Bible.


Since his debut in the music in 2004, he has released 6 studio albums which have made him one of the prominent musical figures in the country.

He has worked closely with different producers to create and give electrifying performances.

The Good Life
Released: 2008
  • Label: Mayonie Productions

Love, Light and Music
Released: 2010
  • Label: Soulistic Music

Mountain Deluxe Volume 4
Released: 2010
  • Label: Mayonie Productions

The Fake Book and Real Book: My Music Bible
Released: 2013
  • Label: Sony Music Africa

Love, Light and Music 2
Released: 2017
  • Label: Mayonie Productions

Bossa Paris Nights
Released: 2018

Zakes Bantwini Awards 

Zakes Bantwini's 16 years of activity in the music industry has earned him the following awards:

2010 - 16th South African Music Awards for Best Music Video of the Year,  Juju (featuring Black Coffee) 
2011 - 17th South African Music Awards for Record of the Year, Bum Bum 
2011 - 17th South African Music Awards for Album of the Year, Love, Light and Music 
2011 - 17th South African Music Awards for Male Artist of the Year, Love, Light and Music 
2011 - Metro FM Awards for Best Male Award, Love, Light and Music
2011 - Chanel O Awards  for Video of the Year, Love, Light and Music

Zakes Bantwini 1Goal4Cancer

Zakes Bantwini lost his mother in 2007 to cancer. In remembering his mother, he introduced an initiative in 2014, 1Goal4Cancer where he hosts celebrity games. The games are hosted annually at different venues. 

The latest was a soccer match in a 7-a-side game played at the Bidvest Wanderers Stadium. It featured the likes of Pearl Thusi, Slikour, Doctor Khumalo, Darren and Ryan (Twins on Decks) and Nandi Madida who showed support for the initiative.

The initiative aims to educate people about cancer and ensures that the information is accessible to people living in rural and township areas which is one of the core reasons why Zakes Bantwini started the campaign. 

Zakes Bantwini Harvard

Zakes Bantwini celebrated his 40th birthday with a major bang.

He announced that he was accepted at the Harvard Business School to advance his musical career so that he continues being a master of his art.

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As we continue to clap our hands to his success, he continues to achieve his wildest milestone. 

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