South Africa’s Best Male Vocalist Sings in isiXhosa


Sindile Ringo Madlingozi.
South Africa is a multicultural country and one of the factors that makes us unite, is the music that is sung in different dialects. One artist who has been doing this, ever since the beginning of his career, is the “Shell Road to Fame” graduate, Sindile Ringo Madlingozi.

The multi-award winner, Ringo, represents the culture of Xhosa’s (South African) dialect, through his music and dress code while he is performing. His soulful vocal ability touches people who don’t actually understand the language. He has won millions of fans across the African continent, and abroad. This has also led to his collaboration with the internationally acclaimed group “UB40”, as part of the United Nations global AIDS awareness program. He recorded the Xhosa lyrics of “Cover up”.

“They need to feel that they are in Africa, feeling its vibration, not the USA vibration.”

“People wouldn’t really encourage artists to sing in their home language. When I first did it, people thought it wasn’t going to do anything, but the younger stars would rather sing in English or Zulu only. Then I came in and sang in Xhosa! I am very happy that i am one of the pioneers who really did it!”

The Sondela hit-maker, Ringo Madlingozi, can’t choose his personal best album out of his 12 consecutive ones but he highlighted the memory of 1998 when the “Sondelani” album was released. This was the time when South Africa believed that there was another legend in the making.

“It is not easy because they are all my albums, but the song that actually put me on the map was “Sondela”, Ringo recollected with a chuckle.

Like most other South African artists, Ringo is waiting and hoping for what could make history in the music industry, and dominate the international market. Is Ringo interested in spreading his wings?
“I can’t wait for the day when i will have the same effect as I have in [South Africa] on other countries, like the UK and the USA, and I’m sure Future Radio (Mzansi Show) is what will kick us to people all over the place.”

There are immeasurable problems affecting musicians globally. Artists are also affected by the famous tune of the present: recession, recession, and more recession! People are no longer buying music as they did before, and this is, of course, an enormous problem for any artist. No sales, no money, and what happens next? Your career goes down the pan! But it goes further than that. People are now stealing other peoples’ songs. This was a hotly debated issue in 2007 when DJ Cleo claimed that Arthur Mafokate had stolen his runaway hit, Sesi Ng’hamba Nawe, and used it for his K’sala Abasalayo song on his album, Dankie.

Ringo adds “It’s not a uniquely South African problem. The more people get educated about technology, the more they find ways to your creativity. Taking other peoples’ songs, taking other peoples’ international property and making it their own, they forget that it is not easy to interpret a situation into a sound, but they just wanna take it!”

People get the taste, through the Confederation Cup, of what it would be like next year at the 2010 World Cup. This could be the one time opportunity that could change the image of South Africa, either through sport, through music or through culture. Talking about music, the chances are, more artists will be recognised by international audiences during this period. So how do we(South Africans) make sure this happens? Should South African radio stations and TV play eighty or ninety per cent South African music during the World Cup to increase the chances of our talented artists to be signed internationally?

“I know it’ s not easy to turn things around just like that but still the main problem is, we have to stop playing the music that is not even our own. I mean, if we get people from another country like the UK, or the USA, or wherever, around the world, when they touch ground, they need to feel that they are in South Africa. They need to feel that they are in Africa, feeling its vibration, not the USA vibration.”

After two successive Ringo live DVDs, recorded at the State Theatre, Pretoria, the first one recorded in 2003, and , amazingly, reaching the top five national charts and top 10 international charts, due to its excellent production quality, it is not surprising that Ringo will be doing the third Ringo Live next year.

Throughout his career, Ringo has been singing about Love,Kindness and forgiveness.

  • Listen to the pod cast to hear Ringo preaching about love.



  1. ‘Sondela’ actually made me cry even though I couldn’t understand the language..but the soul in that song is undescribable!..

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