Andile Thetha, better known by his stage name, DaO, is working to uplift his community through music.
The 29-year-old hip hop artist, founder of the Masi Massive movement, surf coach and community activist from Masiphumelele, started his initiative seven years ago to create a space where young people could get together to showcase their talents.
“I wanted to give young people in my community a chance to live a positive life, help each other and develop their musical skills. People need to rise together as the community … as the Masi Massive movement slogan says ‘love, peace, unity’,” said Andile.
“I am a very caring person. I love helping people and I respect what I do. That’s what keeps me going,” said Andile.
But he doesn’t only focus on music. He also provides modelling tuition to young girls. “I do beauty pageants once in a while just to ensure that girls don’t feel left out,” he said. Andile fell in love with hip hop music when he was at high school, and cites Mandoza, Pro Kid and Zola as his musical influences. “These three had a huge influence mainly because they used to sing about the daily struggles of the township… things that we relate to and see every day. They are connected to the people. Same thing with my music is to inspire people from all ages,” said Andile.
“Maybe some time in the future I’ll open an official modelling school and get professionals to teach our girls the ins and outs of the modelling industry. (However) I don’t just want to end with beauty pageants,” he said.
Andile, who was born in Transkei in the Eastern Cape and grew up in Joburg, said he wishes to see youngsters grow and carry the movement forward so it can also help others.
Reflecting on growing up in a township, Andile said life wasn’t easy for him, and he had to work hard to stay away from the lure of the streets and committing crime. “There are many rappers who grow from Masi Massive movement and get to perform all over,” he said.
“TG is one of the movement’s artist who was invited to perform at the Muizenberg Festival on June 3,” said the rapper.
Gabriel “Gabi” le Roux, who was Mandoza’s producer, has helped the youngster gain exposure in the music industry.
“Le Roux took me under his wing when I was still growing as an artist.
“He introduced me to many people in the industry and taught me how to mingle with influential people,” said Andile.
According to Andile, people are often not very supportive of up and coming artists.
The music industry has changed over the years. In the past, he said, recording companies used to make a lot of money off artists’ hard work. Nowadays, however, the rules had changed, and artists could make it without being signed by a recording company.
“The internet has made things easier for us. You can do a lot with just a computer and a mic,” he said.
“The movement is doing well at the moment but we are in need of funding for us to be able to get the right resources and help as many youngsters as we can. We need to have space, centres for the youth to meet up that are inside the community of Masiphumelele,” said Andile.
Andile can be contacted on 061 099 6822.