Thousands of jubilant music fans cried out in excitement as the undisputed king of Xitsonga traditional music, Benny “President” Mayengani (39), took to the stage at a packed Giyani Stadium in Limpopo last weekend.
Excited supporters had heeded to the call from their idol to pack every available space at the venue.
Mayengani, draped with royal rope over his red empire jacket and wearing a majestic gold crown on his head like a king, was a bundle of explosive energy when he took to the stage at 2.40am on Sunday.
Despite boasting nine albums under his belt, Mayengani remains humble and open to posing with fans.
Born and raised in Shawelo Block 7 in Bolobedu, Limpopo, the multiple award-winning father of 10 kick-started his career back in 2002.
However, he has always been into music from a very young age, since singing in church.
The President, as he is commonly known to his fans, got his name after releasing his hit single called President.
His voice got the 24 000-plus fans on a natural high, jumping up and down, climbing on and pushing against barricades, with some tumbling on to the camera stand boxes that were set for the film crew, just to get a glimpse of the man of the moment.
They had waited for about 10 long hours for their hero to take to the stage and they were not complaining.
It took the opening lines from his first song to get the fans going mad, bulldozing everything in front of them, including security guards, in a bid to reach for the stage and get a closer view of their local hero.
“Hayihlale phans’ ibamb’ umthethoooo…” he roared, his voice reverberating through the stadium as fans sang along.
The popular song seemed to calm the hyperactive fans, some of whom had been splashing themselves and everyone else with alcohol the entire night.
Colbert Mathebula, one of Benny’s biggest fans, travelled some 230km all the way from Bushbuckridge to come and watch his idol.
“I love Benny, he is the only musician that makes me happy in South Africa,” said Mathebula while singing along to one of Mayengani’s songs.
Mayengani expressed how happy he was that he was the first traditional music artist to fill up a stadium.
Benny Mayingani had the fans screaming for more during his fill up Giyani Stadium event.
“I’m making history! I will be the first traditional artist to fill up the stadium” he exclaimed.
Every sentence ends with a “president Mayengani wabulabula”, meaning president Mayengani has spoken.
“I have changed the game, president Mayengani wabulabula,” he said.
He acknowledged that Cassper Nyovest was the first hip-hop artist to fill up a stadium, but boasted about being the first in the traditional music genre to do so.
Nyovest filled up the 20 000-capacity Ticketpro Dome in 2015 and almost hit the FNB Stadium capacity of 94 736 last year, reaching 68 000 ticket sales.
Describing his sound, Mayengani said: “My music is a mixture of traditional, disco and ragga.”
In an Instagram post, actor and rapper Kope “Tswyza” Makgae joked that one needs an energy drink to dance to Mayengani’s music, referring to the musician’s fast-paced Tsonga guitar riffs that characterise his sound.
The speed of the Xitsonga dance moves requires a full gym membership, which might be the reason the musician looks fit and is able to stick around throughout the night to only perform in the early hours of the morning without any sign of exhaustion.
He says his style of music was inspired by the late king of Shangaan disco Peter Teanet, who was from the same area in Bolobedu.
Teanet was gunned down in 1996.
Benny Mayingani performing to a packed Giyani Stadium crowd.
However, like many music festivals, this one was not without causalities, as two people were alleged to have died from a stabbing incident and a fight that ensued outside the stadium.
Mayengani said they were saddened by the passing of the two people and they were assisting the families with funeral arrangements.
He was supported by more than 40 musicians, including Mhani Flora Chauke, DJ Tira and Candy Tsamandebele.
“I’m going provincial now to fill up Peter Mokaba Stadium and after that we are going to Johannesburg,” said Mayengani when asked about his future plans.
The long-awaited event lived up to expectations as the stadium was full from the ground all the way up to the stands, and there were cars still trying to access the stadium during his performance.