Kalawa not for sale

spikiriKalawa Jazmee Records, South Africa's oldest and most successful independent record label hasn't been sold off.

This is the response from the company's directors (Zhynne "Mahoota" Sibika, Bruce "Dope" Sebitlo, Mandla "Spikiri" Mofokeng (Pictured), Emmanuel Matsane and Oscar "Oskido" Mdlongwa) following reports in the media recently. The record company would like to stress that only parts of the business are up for discussion, and not the core Kalawa Jazmee Records.

To set the record straight: "Kalawa is not up for sale or sold," comments Bruce Sebitlo in a press release. "Only Dangerous Combination Crew is in confidential discussions with one of the major record companies on a possible partnership. The discussions are at a delicate stage at the moment and will only be revealed as soon as they are concluded."

"As in many other industries, the record industry keeps evolving," says the revered music producer and member of Brothers of Peace. "Things are not the same like when we started the record company back in 1994. Look at the major record labels, there used to be five, now there is only two. Also, look at the industry and see how many independents still exist. Those that exist have a minimal rooster," Bruce points out.

Oskido says the way record companies were, and are run at the present moment has changed over the years. "Like many other successful businesses, we have entered into negotiations and decided to partner on those elements of the company that we believe can better be managed through a partnership, strengthen the brand through such a move, and also to maximise profit. It's a new business strategy. That's how good businesses become better by allowing partnerships to move with the times, as other partners bring different elements. You have seen examples of companies that hold on to their companies for sentimental value self-destruct. "

"It's true that some artists have left the company and others remain," adds Oskido. "The nature of the business is that sometimes contracts do come to an end, and also, when other artists feel they have grown enough and need to stand on their own, we allow them to do that. There are numerous examples of names who have started their own labels, and that happens anywhere else in the world."

"We discovered Boom Shaka and changed the game with them.
When they left, we discovered an even more interesting act in Bongo Maffin, and when things happened with the group, we introduced Mafikizolo. We now even have the latest biggest group in Dbn Nyts that has captured the nation's imagination with Shumaya," says Emmanuel Matsane. "Add to that we signed and helped BlackCoffee develop his Soulistic imprint that is known internationally, and we did the same with Afrotainment that houses interesting acts. We empowered them, and it's strange now that when an artist leaves Kalawa, then people say the stable is falling."

Furthermore, the board would like to stress that they are united as ever, and this unity can be confirmed individually. "Like a family of five there will always be disagreements, but over the last 22 years we've resolved those internally," concludes Spikiri. He mentions that such rumours started when he decided to focus on the Spikiri Records brand. "The other board members embraced that focus from my side, as I wanted to focus my energies on the kwaito genre," he says. "I am still working with the crew and also concentrate on Spikiri Records as well."