EC teen has music world agog

Mfono’s album is due as two singles climb charts on iTunes, Google Play

Holy Cross High school Grade 11 pupil Inga Mfono, AKA OBU Mxhosa, has released two singles and will be dropping a full album in September.
Holy Cross High school Grade 11 pupil Inga Mfono, AKA OBU Mxhosa, has released two singles and will be dropping a full album in September.
Image: ZIYANDA ZWENI

While many children his age are preoccupied with the latest fashion trends and what cellphone to flash, a young high school pupil from Mthatha is fasting carving a name for himself in the music industry.

At the tender age of 16, Inga Mfono, a class prefect in Grade 11 at Holy Cross Education Centre High in Mthatha, is taking the industry by storm. He has now released two singles, which he wrote and produced all by himself.

The first, Ndixakene Nomhlaba, was released late last year. Inyaniso was released last month on iTunes and Google Play.

He was unsure how many times the songs had been downloaded, but Mfono said he had been told both songs were doing pretty well.

The rapper-turned Afro-soul singer, who goes by the stage name of “OBU Mxhosa” revealed that he had already finished working on his debut album Inyaniso (the truth) which is due for release in September. “It contains 12 songs. All of them are in Xhosa, because I am proud of my heritage.”

However, he added, he would not have a problem doing collaborations with musicians who were comfortable singing in English.

He said his stage name, OBU, was derived from his second name, Obuhle.Despite his hectic schooling schedule, the youngster wrote all 12 songs on the album. He also single-handedly arranged, composed and recorded all the music in a makeshift studio inside a backroom flat in his home in Mandela Park informal settlement.

Besides that, he is also a self-taught guitarist, pianist, drummer, marimba player, and a former vocal coach and choreographer. He has penned more than 60 songs since he was in Grade 2.

“I have been told that Inyaniso has been one of the best-selling singles on iTunes,” he said.

But where did it start for him? Like many well-known musos, his musical journey started in church at the tender age of four. He started recording the album in November while also busy writing his end-of-year Grade 10 exams.

He completed recording the whole album two weeks ago.Mfono said some songs were inspired by concern over the social ills besetting the country, while others were from his own personal experiences.

He was not perturbed about having to juggle schoolwork and devoting time to recording in the studio. “After school I focused on my music and then during late evening I switched back to my books, but would read them while listening to music as I cannot concentrate when it’s too quiet,” he explained.

His proud mother Gcobisa Mfono, 45, said even when her last-born was angry, he simply wrote everything down and turned it into a song.

Mfono – who has already shared a stage with the likes of legendary acapella group The Soil and Afro-soul crooners Nathi Mankayi and Vusi Nova – wants to continue taking over the world with his music, but he also wants to become a medical doctor.

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