Bongo Maffin is a South African kwaito music group. The group became famous for its hit albums such as Thath’isigubhu. Its lead singer, Thandiswa Mazwai, has since gone solo, releasing two albums, Zabalaza and Ibokwe.
Bongo Maffin formed in 1996, starting as a project of South African deejay Oscar. Appleseed, one of the band members, was born and raised in Zimbabwe, and brings a distinct reggae flavor to the group’s music. Another member, Stoan, began his musical career as a singer for the kwaito band Thebe, while Thandiswa (or Red as she if often called), joined in 1997 after working with them as a backup singer and studio musician. The group’s expansive and spiritual take on the dance-oriented genre has been compared to the Fugees’ broadening of American hip-hop. The comparison is reinforced by singer Thandiswa’s soulful crooning, which is reminiscent of the Fugees’ Lauryn Hill. Their common passion for music has had a synergistic effect on their collective creativity. The fourth member of the group, Speedy, has since left the group and embarked on a solo career.