KrTC (pronounced ‘Courtesy’) of Hip Hop is one of eSwatini’s greatest musical success stories. The hip hop artist, whose full name is Thamsanqa Sibandze, became famous as part of the duo Siyinqaba with Muzi Mozaik Ngwenya when the pair won the Tihlabane Album of the Year Award in 2010. They were the first contemporary artists to win this award. Now a solo artist, KrTC has performed at the King’s birthday, as well as several festivals including BushFire (eSwatini’s answer to Glastonbury) and Malawi’s Lake of Stars Music Festival.
Sands is not only hugely popular within eSwatini, but is also affectionately known as the country’s most popular music export. The Swazi-born and raised Sandziso Matsebula is a guitarist, songwriter, performing artist and soul singer who rose to fame in 2015 when he won Best Radio Song of 2015 (for his song Vuma) and Male Artist of the Year at the National Arts and Culture Awards (NACA). But it was his catchy song Tigi, sung in siSwati, which has helped him break into the South African music scene.
Bholoja, whose real name is Mbongiseni Ngubane, is an Afro-pop and soul artist inspired by traditional Swati music and culture. His songs combine a range of traditional African music styles and use drumming and instruments like the mbira (a wooden board with metal parts that are plucked with the thumbs) and sitolotolo (mouth harp). His music often touches upon socially conscious themes, and he sees himself as a mouthpiece for the poor and disadvantaged. As well as being popular in eSwatini, he’s toured across Africa and even played in some European countries.
S-Tone, or Sifiso Sicelo Magagula, is a singer-songwriter from eSwatini’s capital city: Mbabane. He has been passionate about rap and R&B music since he was a child, but began performing house music in 2005 with his friend and DJ/producer Simza. Their song Holding Back was a huge hit in South Africa as was the remix made by popular South African DJ Black Coffee. S-Tone has had several successful collaborations since then (including one with KrTC).
Princess Sikhanyiso Dlamini, the eldest daughter of King Mswati III, is not only eSwatini’s principal princess but is also an aspiring rapper and singer. ‘Pashu’, as she’s commonly known, has studied abroad (in the UK, America and Australia) and performs in English. She began rapping as a teenager and released the song Hail Your Majesty in 2013 as a tribute to her father the King. She’s even performed at some government functions.