Candy Tsa Mandebele

Candy Tsa Mandebele Mokwena (born June 19, 1970) is a South African singer, songwriter, actress. Born and raised in Limpopo, she began singing in her mother's community traditional group, Sekgapa, at the age of 14. Mandebele began her career in 1993 as a songwriter, prior to joining group Shaka Bundu Girls in 1995.

Candy Tsa Mandebele
Birth nameCandy Tsa Mandebele Mokwena
Born (1970-07-19) July 19, 1970 (age 51)
Limpopo, South Africa
  • Singer-songwriter
  • actress
  • Singing
Years active1993–present
Associated acts

Mandebele is also well known for singing in Khelobedu language, which is a dialect of Northern Sotho language. In 2016, her debut solo album Siki (Five Cents) was released through Sony Music, The album was a critical success and generated the single "Baile".

Life and careerEdit

1970–1993: Early life and beginningsEdit

Candy Tsa Mandebele Mokwena was born on July 19, 1970, in province the Limpopo.[1] Mandebele has three siblings, At the age of 14. Mokwena started performing as a soloist in her Mother's community traditional group Sekgapa choir (her mother was the group leader and also played the drum for the group), in the village of Ga- Sedibeni.[2] Mandebele grew up without her biological father[3]

Mandebele also attended public school in Limpopo, she did not receive formal schooling, she dropped out of school at grade nine.[4] Candy launched her professional music career in 1993 as songwriter on Peter Teanet's double multi-platinum album, "Nwa'yingwani".[2]

1994–2007: Career beginnings, Shaka Bundu Girls, and DisbandEdit

In 1994, Candy and her friend Nurse Matlala moved to the city of Johannesburg to pursue music career, In late 1994, they met Papa Penny Penny, who helped them sign a record deal with Gallo Records, the duo co-wrote penny hit single "Shichangani-Lshilungu", while they were working on their debut single.[5] In 1995, they launched their career as Shaka Bundu Girls, The group scored a hit with their single "Hona Mo SOO" which was later certified Platinum by RISA, Singles such as gold certified single "One Day" (1996) and ""Hi July" in (1997)" kept the band in the spotlight.[6]

In 1999, after leaving Gallo Records, they started to freelance as session musician. In 2004, they joined Kalawa Jazmee Records, Oskido renamed the group to CandyNurse. While at Kalawa Records the duo helped in composition of some of the tracks in BOP's "Life Iskorokoro" album, they also provided backing vocals for the album.[6] In 2007 the duo disbanded.[7]

2009–2017: Siki (Five Cents) and career breakthroughEdit

In September 2010, her debut solo album, Siki (Five Cents), was released, it was released to positive reviews from music critics, and spawned the hit " Baile".[6] The single earned Mandebele one nominations at the 2000 South African Music Awards.[8] Throughout the years, Mandebele performed guest verses on several song, including "Nkatanga" by Selaelo Selota and Malatji, "Boloba Thaba" with Revolution, DJ Lucky, Lacosta's "Diteki" and "Khoma jive", Uhuru's "Nkirikiri", Dr Malinga's "Moshito" and Black Motion's "Maghoro".[6]

After a four-year hiatus, On October 13, 2013, Mandebele released "Tsa Mandebele" song featuring Oskido and an accompanying music video on YouTube. The song became a 2013 hit and signature song for Tsa Mandebele.[9][10]

2017: Hupenyu Unenge ViriEdit

In 2018, under her own label, Mandebele released "Nathinga" a single from her Hupenyu Unenge Viri (2018) album, through Universal Music South Africa. The Xitsonga house track was written by Mandebele and produced by Molefi Modikoe.[11] In an interview when she was asked about what the song was about, she said "The song is about a fictional person called Nathinga, who is eligible to and will get married in spite of the concern that people seem to have about her betrothal." The "Hupenyu Unenge Viri" album won two awards at the 2019 Limpopo Music Awards (LMA), Best Music Video (for song Nathinga) and Best Female.[12]

In March 19, 2019, Mandebele starred in South Africa's first Xitsonga telenovela drama series Giyani: Land of Blood[13] on SABC 2, which tells the story about two families locked in a bitter, decades-long squabble over a banana plantation which was recently given to the people of Risinga.[14] She played the role of a flamboyant village shebeen queen Mhani Dayina in the telenovela, Her portrayal of Mhani received positive reviews, and she made history by becoming the first person to speak Khelobedu in a television series.[15] The show ended on November 26, 2019.[16]

Candy received four nominations at the 15th Annual South African Traditional Music Awards for Best Traditional Collaboration Song, Best Traditional Music Artist /Group Of The Year, Best Traditional House Music Song, Best Female Artist/Group.[17]

Personal lifeEdit

Mandebele was a mother of one son Lesley. She became pregnant at the age of 17, and had to drop out of school, she then went to work at a tea farmer to support her son.[18] In 2011, Candy lost her son Lesley Mokwena (1987–2011) in a car accident.[19] In 2017, Mandebele was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes[20]


Studio albumsEdit

  • Siki (Five Cents) (2009)
  • Easy Come Easy Go (2016)
  • Hupenyu Unenge Viri (2018)
  • Still Here (2020)


  1. ^ "#Kellman – Candy Tsa Mandebele". CliffCentral. Retrieved October 28, 2019.
  2. ^ a b "Candy Tsamandebele Bio". Wiki Mzansi. Retrieved October 28, 2019.
  3. ^ "Exclusive: Candy Tsa Mandebele needs help to find her father". News24. Retrieved October 28, 2019.
  4. ^ "Candy Tsa Mandebele opens up about acting struggles". Retrieved October 28, 2019.
  5. ^ Mojapelo, M.; Galane, S. (2008). Beyond Memory: Recording the History, Moments and Memories of South African Music. African Minds. p. 147. ISBN 9781920299286. Retrieved October 28, 2019.
  6. ^ a b c d "Celebrating Milestones with Candy". Review. Retrieved October 28, 2019.
  7. ^ "Things you don't know about Candy Tsa Mandebele". Mpumalanga News. Retrieved October 28, 2019.
  8. ^ "16th South African Music Awards nominees announced". Retrieved October 28, 2019.
  9. ^ "Oskido ft. Candy – Tsa Mandebele (Kids Remix) — Bino and Fino – African Culture For Children". Retrieved October 28, 2019.
  10. ^ "Candy Tsa Mandebele's traditional outfits". Retrieved October 28, 2019.
  11. ^ "Candy Tsa Mandebele to release her new single, Nathinga". JustNje. Retrieved October 28, 2019.
  12. ^ "Candy Tsa Mandebele Is Set To Release A Track Titled "Nathinga" – SA Music Magazine". Retrieved October 28, 2019.
  13. ^ "Mzansi reacts to 'Giyani – Land of Blood' | IOL Entertainment". Retrieved October 28, 2019.
  14. ^ "New Xitsonga telenovela 'Giyani – Land of Blood' coming to SABC 2 in April |". YoMZansi. Retrieved October 28, 2019.
  15. ^ "Candy Tsamandebele's Khelobedu on Giyani Land of Blood | After12 Magazine". Retrieved October 28, 2019.
  16. ^ "SABC 2 cancels Giyani – Land of Blood". eNCA. Retrieved December 22, 2019.
  17. ^ Adejoy. "Full list of SATMA 2021 nominees | Fakaza News". Fakaza News. Retrieved September 28, 2021.
  18. ^ "'It's been 7 years without you'— Candy Mokwena on the loss of her son". Channel24. Retrieved October 28, 2019.
  19. ^ "Candy Tsamandebele on the loss of her son". Retrieved October 28, 2019.
  20. ^ "Candy conquers through death and illness". Kempton Express. Retrieved October 28, 2019.