Sipho ‘Thwalofu’ Khoza

Born in 1952 at Maduma, eMkhandlweni, musician, Sipho Khoza, also known as ‘Thwalofu’ was a leader of the group Thwalofu NamaKetshane (Thwalofu and his wild dogs). He is also known as ‘Inkunzi Yembongolo’ referring to his stubborn nature and for standing upfor what he believes in. He made history by presenting his family-in-law with donkeys as payment for lobola, rather than cows as is traditionally done!

Thwalofu hails from Kwa-Zulu Natal, Empangeni area, under the Biyela Tribal Authority. When he started playing guitar, he was taught by Sikhwasha. He was compelled to create his own left handed guitar out of an old gallon tin. He wouldn’t leave his guitar behind for any reason. When going to school, Thwalofu would leave it in the bush in the vicinity of the school so he could get it on his way home. His love for guitar made him leave home to work in the sugarcane farms where he earned R1 per month. He banked his pay with his boss and when the savings were about R7, he bought himself his first real guitar – a Berlin brand.

One day when the then popular Maskandi, Hensford Mthembu and his band Amagugu Esimanje, came to play at Empangeni, he saw Thwalofu with his Berlin guitar and asked him to play for him. He was highly impressed and asked Thwalofu to join his band in Johannesburg. Khoza and his group released their first album in the 1970s entitled uKhalemini Samsoni and in 1974 he recorded and released his debut album Fulela makoti kuyanetha endlini.

Since then, he has released over 47 albums and has been part of the Maskandi music scene for over three decades.His album entitled Intencane was released in October 2009. His other album was released mid 2011 under his record label Thwalofu Music. Thwalofu commented, after receiving a life time award, in the SATMAs (South African Traditional Music Awards) in 2008, “it was an honour to know that I am being recognised in the music territory.”  In February 2016, he was honoured with a lifetime achievement award.

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