Peter Matika, Senior Life Reporter
MOTHUSI Bashimane Ndlovu’s story is somewhat like that of a fairytale, where an underdog constantly yearns to be recognised and dreams to one day be acknowledged by his people as a phenomenal being.
Such is the story of the Gwanda-born South Africa-based multi-talented artiste, who in December last year finally gained recognition for the fine work he has and is still doing in the arts sector.
Popularly known as Madlela for his comedy series Madlela Skhobokhobo, Bashimane won an award at the last edition of the Zimbabwe Archivers Awards event held in South Africa last year.
Pitting up against stronghold names such as Tongai Chirisa, Genius “Ginimbi” Kadungure, Baba Tencen and Chiedza Mhende who plays the role of Wandile, Zola’s son in Generations, Bashimane won the people’s choice award, which finally satisfied his hunger for recognition.
He reiterated his long walk to stardom, where he reminisced how he started off as a little known artiste in Zimbabwe.
“My story began in Gwanda, where I grew up in Matulungundu. As a child I always adored the arts. In school, Manama Mission to be precise, I sought to venture into the sector, where I joined the drama club and excelled. Since then I have never looked back and I am proud to have taken this route, a passion I have always liked,” said a humble Madlela.
Navigating his way in the rough patches of Matabeleland South Province arts industry Bashimane had a stint in Zimbabwean theatre.
He featured in the theatre hits Township Terror (1996), Calabash (1999), My father: My husband (1999), Home far Above (2000) among others plays written and directed by Desire Moyo.
After he left high school, Bashimane said he worked with an arts group that was known as Missing Peace in Bulawayo, before leaving for South Africa in 2003.
“After I relocated to South Africa I found myself auditioning for many roles on TV and drama projects. It was then that I realised that I could live my dream as I featured as an extra on a series — Zero Tolerance on SABC 2. Doors began opening for me then and I again featured on SABC 1 on a TV show called Single Girls,” he said, adding that was when he decided to start his own project — Shilolo Media.
Shilolo Media is a production company, which focuses on artistes’ development and distribution.
“Our first project was with a singer by the name Peggy Nare. She released an album under our stable. Four years ago we incepted Madlela, which has become a household name and a comic that many have come to adore,” said Bashimane.
Mothusi transformed from being a mere stage player to a producer, he started the Shilolo Music that later turned to Shilolo Media House.
Despite his limited time in the education fields he has invested in his brain power to turn ideas into reality.
This he achieved by establishing the Shilolo Music company in 2010, with the sole aim of discovering raw talent and then putting their compositions into good use for the world to hear.
The first artiste to be signed under him was Peggy Nare who went on to release a beautiful gospel album titled Uthuleleni which is still doing well in the market. Nine tracks from the 10-track album were composed and produced by Bashimane; likewise he is currently assisting Viviane Nkiwane to come up with an album in which he writes songs for her.
With his comedy series growing popular in leaps and bounds it has indeed propelled Bashimane to dizzying heights in the showbiz and arts industry, with many artistes looking to work with him.
“The Madlela project has opened many doors. Many artistes want to work with us. We have been invited to feature here and there and it is just amazing,” said Bashimane, also adding that he featured on yet another TV production Bafo My Blood that aired on Mzansi Magic last year.
Bashimane said he had since adopted the character Madlela as part of his persona as many people identified him better with it.
“Madlela is an art character, he is not a real person as people would love to believe but he indeed has come to life through the love of people. With this character I launched a 10 track album titled Dlozi Lolaka. The album is doing quite well if I might say so myself.
The album features a rhumba track, which seems to be the heart of the album, seeing as I have received so many requests to compile a rhumba album. So this year Madlela should be releasing a 6-track rhumba album for his fans,” said Bashimane.
Living by the motto “A dream never dies” Bashimane seeks to turn around the local arts industry, as he has never underestimated his ability.