Ihashi Elimhlophe is a household name in South African traditional Zulu music. Leader Bheki Ngcobo the brains behind the ‘Ihashi Eimhlophe projects, first recorded his music in 1986. Ihashi has never looked back since then.
Ihashi Elimhlophe, hails from Zulu Empangeni in Kwa-Zulu Natal. He was forever playing Maskandi music, imitating his uncle and brother, who are top Zulu musicians in South Africa. In 1976 Ihashi Elimhlophe decided to take the Maskandi music route. He came to Johannesburg, the centre of opportunities.
‘When I arrived in Johannesburg I joined a group called the Young Brothers as a bass guitarist. I left the group and had a stint with a few other groups before joining popular and famous Mbaqanga group, the Soul Brothers. Bekhi said Soul Brothers wasted no time, they noticed his great talent and made him their lead singer on their junior group, “Imitshotshovu”. After recording their debut album “Icala” Ihashi came up, win an idea of recording as a solo artiste. That is when he gave himself this name “Ihashi Elimhlophe”. Ihashi Elimhlophe’s first album called “Hololo” was followed by a series of successful albums. Todate Ihashi expanded as a big family, Izintombi Zehashi, an all girl group, Amataliana, a three man maskandi group and Amaponi, Linah’s and Ihashi’s biological children. His wife Linah Khama (known to her fans as “Ebony”) is one of South Africa’s leading female artistes who has carved a niche for herself in the tough music industry.
To add on to his successes, last year he made an album with two well respected Maskandi artistes – Phuzekhemisi and Mfazi Omnyma and called themselves “Izinqunqulu Zomhlaba”. “This collaboration is spearheading a very important project that is aimed at bringing lasting peace in KwaZulu Natal,” he added
According to Bheki, in 1998, Ihashi Elimhlophe joined Bula Music and released a very powerful album entitled “Ithemba”. The album is doing well already in the market. “The tracks on this album are once again inspired by the desire to retain one’s culture and heritage, although for a lot of songs further inspiration has been drawn from the desire to promote love and peace amongst people of South Africa,” Bheki said.
‘Amaponi’, the band formed by the children of Bheki and Linah are doing well too in South Africa.
From the age of 5, Nkosinathi, the oldest of the four, has been dancing with his father’s band. When Nkosinathi’s younger brother, Jabu was 8 years old, he too joined his father’s band.