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Mafikizolo's khona cover.jpg
Single by Mafikizolo featuring Uhuru and Mapiano
from the album Reunited
Released January 10, 2013 (2013-01-10)[1]
Format CD, Digital download
Recorded 2012
Genre Afropop, house music, kwaito
Length 04:55
Label Kalawa Jazmee Records
  • Theo Kgosinkwe
  • Nhlanhla Nciza
  • Themba Sekowe
  • Xelimpilo Simelane
  • Sihle Dlalisa
Producer(s) Uhuru
Mafikizolo chronology
Music video
"Khona" on YouTube

"Khona" is a song by South African duo Mafikizolo, released as the first single from their eighth studio album Reunited (2013). It features additional vocals from Xelimpilo, a member of Uhuru.[2] The song was released by Kalawa Jazmee Records. In South Africa, the song peaked at number 1 on YFM, Umhlobo Wenene FM, Ukhozi FM and True FM. It peaked at number 2 on Metro FM music charts.[2][3] In Nigeria, the song received numerous radio airplay on the Beat 99.9 FM and Cool FM. On the Prisoner of Class music chart, the song made the list of the top 10 African songs of 2013, peaking at number 1.[4] Furthermore, the song peaked at number 1 on Afribiz's Top 100 chart.[5]

Upon its release, the song was met with great reception throughout Africa. Many people fell in love with its syncopated rhythmic drumbeat sound. The song has elevated the South African house genre to some extent,[3] and was released with the idea that music can influence a large demography of people across the African continent. In addition to being one of the most played radio songs in Africa, "Khona" caught the attention of MTN's Project Fame West Africa season 6 contestants. Contestants of the television program, on several occasions, sang the song humorously while playing a singing game amongst themselves.

Background and meaning[edit]

"Khona" was written and composed in Zulu by Theo Kgosinkwe, Nhlanhla Nciza and Uhuru. It translates to "there" or "at that place".[6] The release of "Khona" marked the official reunion of the singing duo who took significant time off to work on their solo careers. Prior to releasing "Khona", Mafikizolo were precisely known for putting out wedding inspired themes. In a nutshell, "Khona" blends West African sounds with African house instrumentals. The duo opted for a fresh sound to complement their return to the South African Music Industry. Commenting on their newly discovered sound, Nhlanhla said: "We had Afro-pop songs, but we also wanted a fresh sound. Oskido wasn’t sure about the direction and neither were we. One of the things we are worried about is that the new sound is young." In addition to bringing about a new sound, the duo also revamped their physical image. Nhlanhla commented on Mafikizolo's new image, saying: "With Reunited we are inspired by the white 1950s and 1960s culture of roller skates and drive-ins and diners."[2]

To some degree, Mafikizolo's decision to reunite was a conscious one due to the failure of numerous bands that stage comebacks after a hiatus. Theo commented on the downside of reunions, saying, "What makes this scary is that previous bands who did reunions and comeback albums didn’t work out. And if it doesn’t work out it may wipe out your history."[2] While recording "Khona" and other tracks on the album, Mafikizolo admitted to being scared of people's reaction to their new sound. They specifically said: "We were exploring different sounds and were worried about how people would react after such a long time, but it is also what motivated us.”[2]

Music video[edit]

The music video for "Khona" was uploaded onto YouTube on April 19, 2013, at a total length of 4 minutes and 12 seconds. Geometric shape patterns and colorful costume designs are at the heart of the music video. The music video has surpassed five million views on YouTube, and has challenged the representation of masculinity in Africa. A writer for Vada Magazine said: "Although Mafikizolo haven’t been forthcoming on any symbolic meaning behind the placement of these dancers, their bold decision to place them so prominently could still be seen as a potentially dangerous idea on a continent where homosexuality is illegal in 34 countries."[7]

Critical reception[edit]

Phathu Ratshilumela of Music Industry Online gave an assessment of "Khona", saying: "But taking people down memory lane is not all that the group has in store for music fanatics, they also have well spiced songs that are more focused on up tempo feel. ‘Khona' which carries simple musical instrumentation has a catch storyline with an easy to memorise vocals. The arrangement and top notch mixing of the song is just a cherry on top. Not your average duo, this first single off the album, which also features Uhuru is proof enough that the group is most definitely back with a big BANG!"[8]

Live performances[edit]

Mafikizolo performing "Khona" at the 2014 MAMAs.

On April 5 and 6, 2013, Mafikizolo performed "Khona" at the 2013 Cape Town International Jazz Festival.[9] On April 4, 2013, a day before their performance at the aforementioned festival, Mafikizolo stopped by SABC 3's Expresso Morning Show for an interview.[10] Moments after their interview, they performed "Khona" to Expresso's TV viewers.[11] A minuscule level of controversy arose after their Expresso performance. Many people felt that the duo lip synced and didn't put much effort into their performance.

On May 26, 2013, Mafikizolo performed "Khona" at Big Brother Africa: The Chase's launch show alongside Kenya's Stella Mwangi and Nigeria's Don Jazzy, Wande Coal and D'Prince.[12] On June 23, 2013, the musical duo performed the song at the 2013 DKM concert alongside D'banj, 2 Chainz, Olamide, Fally Ipupa, Naeto C and Kayswtich.[13][14] On September 1, 2013, Mafikizolo performed "Khona" at the 2013 edition of the Jazz on the Lake concert in Johannesburg. They commented on the event, saying, "We’re so grateful for every platform we get to promote our new album, as well as share our music from previous years. We’re so happy to reunite with them on beautiful platforms such as Jazz on the Lake."[15]

On November 22, 2013, Mafikizolo performed the song at the CAAN (Caribbean American and African Nations) awards, which took place in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State. The award ceremony featured additional performances from Sean Kingston, Samini, King Sunny Adé, Tuface Idibia, Banky W., Timi Dakolo, Wizkid, Kcee, Sean Tizzle and Daddy Showkey.[16] Mafikizolo performed alongside Zahara, Mi Casa, Dr Malinga, Dj Sbu, DJ Zinhle, Big Nuz, Professor, Oskido and AKA at the Christmas With Our People Music Concert.[17]


The music video for "Khona" won Most Gifted Dance Video and was nominated for Most Gifted Video of the Year at the 10th Annual Channel O Music Video Awards, which took place at the Walter Sisulu Square in Kliptown, Soweto on November 30, 2013.[18] Moreover, the music video won Best African Act Video at the 5th edition of the 4Syte TV Music Awards.[19][20] "Khona" earned Mafikizolo nominations for Best African Act at the 2013 MOBO Awards and MTV Europe Music Awards.[21][22] "Khona" won Song of the Year at the 2014 MTV Africa Music Awards.[23] "Khona" and its music video were nominated in the Song of the Year and Best Video of the Year categories at the 2014 African Muzik Magazine Awards; Mafikizolo won the Best Collabo award for collaborating with Uhuru.[24][25]

Year Awards ceremony Award description(s) Results
2014 African Muzik Magazine Awards Best Video of the Year Nominated
Best Collabo Won
Song of the Year Nominated
MTV Africa Music Awards 2014 Song of the Year Won
2013 Channel O Music Video Awards Most Gifted Dance Video Won
Most Gifted Video of the Year Nominated
4syte TV Music Video Awards Best African Act Video Won
MTV Europe Music Awards Best African Act Nominated
MOBO Awards Nominated

Album version, radio version, and covers[edit]

The album's version of the song differs from the radio's in that the former features Mapiano and Uhuru, while the latter excludes Mapiano. In addition, the latter was played on several radio stations across Nigeria, Kenya, South Africa and Ghana. "Khona" has been remixed and covered by established and promising acts in Ghana, Nigeria, and South Africa. Samklef, a Nigerian record producer and recording artist, created his version of the song by interpolating the original instrumental.[26] Terry G, another established artist from Nigeria, released a cover of Khona titled "Ora". Up and coming acts such as Anajo Black, Guru, Atom, K-Deep, Omobolar, Danny Young, Lazzy Beatz, Tee Q, T-Maze, Don Effizzy and Junior released their own rendition of the song. In April 2014, Nigerian rapper Lyrikal released "Khona Gongo (freestyle)", a song from his second mixtape O.C.D (2014).[27]

Track listing, covers, and remixes[edit]

No. Title Artist(s) Length
1. "Khona" (featuring Uhuru and Mapiano) Uhuru and Mapiano 4:55
2. "Khona (Radio edit)" (featuring Uhuru) Mafikizolo and Uhuru[28] 4:07
3. "Khona (Instrumental)" [29] 4:50
4. "Prayer of Life (Amin) (Khona Cover)" Samklef [30] 2:55
5. "Koda (Khona Cover)" Anajo Black[31] 4:54
6. "Khona (Mafikizolo Khona Cover)" Guru[32] 2:48
7. "Khoda (Khona Cover)" Atom[33] 3:05
8. "Hapuya (Khona Cover)" K-Deep[34] 4:17
9. "Ora (Khona cover)" Terry G[35] 4:32
10. "Tingali (Khona cover)" Omobolar[36] 4:18
11. "Kunle Ole (Khona cover)" Danny Young[37] 3:07
12. "Ko Da (Khona Cover)" Lazzy Beatz 3:44
13. "Sessy (khona - Mafikizolo cover)" Tee Q[38] 5:02
14. "Connect (Khona cover)" T-Maze[39] 4:55
15. "Booty Down (Khona Cover)" Don Effizzy[40] 3:49
16. "Na Wa (Khona Cover)" BM BABY and the BFMG Generals[41] 3:47
17. "Khona (Uhuru/Mafikizolo Cover)" Junior[42] 3:09
18. "Khona Gongo (freestyle)" Lyrikal 2:41
  • "—" denotes an instrumental

Charts and certifications[edit]

Weekly charts[edit]

Chart (2013) Peak
South Africa (EMA)[43] 7

Video release history[edit]

Country Date Format Label
South Africa April 19, 2013 Digital download Kalawa Jazmee Records


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