Tribute to General M.D Shirindza

Born Daniel Shirindza in 1936, and his father named him Daniel after inspired by the publication of first Xitsonga Novel Sasavona by Daniel Cornelius Marivate his father named him after the writer.

Like many Tsonga teenagers he went through the traditional rites of passage and attended the initiation school. In 1960 at the age of 22 he recorded his first album; it was during the hype of pop, mbaqanga and soul. He struggled to find a record deal because his music was not considered to be serious at the time.

He broke into the music market with smashing hits and a new sound that birth what was to be known as Xitsonga traditional music, with some giving it the name Xigaza after the establishment of Gazankulu in 1968. He dominated the Xitsonga music scene from 1960 to 1981 and was a household name amongst Vatsonga in urban areas who had access to radios.

He is the first to have dancers with Xibelani that is revealed as traditional Xibelani was considered a sacred and underwear. He debunked the mist and introduce dancers who danced wearing Xibelani only unlike others who hide it under Miceka(clothes). A remarkable musician who paved the way for many recorded Tsonga musicians, when majority of Vatsonga relied on Radio Bantu Tsonga services (now Munghana lonene fm) to record their music General M.D Shirindza encouraged them to record for commercial purposes.

He is the first Mutsonga in South Africa to go commercial in 1960; hence he was termed General of all Tsonga artists. In 1984 he was inducted into graceland project under the banner of Paul Simon and recorded a hit song called I know what I know which toured internationally. By his admission Paul Simon considered General M.D Shirindza as prolific guitar player and magical in singing. Whilst General M.D Shirindza did not make fortune out of Graceland, his song ranked in thousands of Dollars overseas.

The recreation of his song Modjaji by prolific Music producer Chicco Sello Twala ignited the South African music fraternity with the extra ordinary composition skills and dexterity of M.D Shirindza. The South African Tsonga Music market will forever resonate with the beautiful sound of M.D Shirindza with songs such as Nghomondela, Modjaji and more than 700 other songs.

The list of his albums includes:

  • Nghena shirinda
  • Ndzi xitwile xirilo xa wena – 1985
  • Teka dzovo
  • Khombo ra mina
  • Nsati wa mina
  • Madala kanje
  • Gama ra nsele
  • Paul Simon – grace land
  • Music is in the food love.

In the year 2013 he was honoured by Munghana lonene FM with a lifetime achievement award for his contribution to Tsonga commercial Music.

Married with six wives and forty four children, he was a traditional healer which stems from long history of his family. His father was also a healer and ironical his son is a pharmacies which shows the inherit love the family has for medicine and healing. A man who supported his children and many of them has successful careers as he encouraged them to study. He died at the age 82 leaving behind a legacy which has richly benefited Vatsonga in culture and Music.

Etlela hi ku rhula Mahumani.

Vaka N’wakayivelaka le hansi a tlhokola mapfun’wana wa ka ntsenga wa ndzilo lowu nga ka thlomi, eka masiya byi virile eyikweni. I va ka mahumani hi homu, va tlhava


By Ntsako Xivambu,



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