Papa Penny whose real name is Eric Kulani Giyani Nkovani is a 55-year-old South African musician and politician who has a net worth of about $300,000. The Tsonga disco and House Kwaito musician rose from a less privileged background to not only become one of the most successful musicians in South Africa but also one of the richest. Though he made money as a musician, Penny Penny, as he is also referred to, has diversified his income sources to include sources that are no longer limited to music.
Papa Penny Rose From Penury to Wealth at the Age of 32
The ace musician was born in 1962 in Limpopo, Bushveld, and wildlife reserves of South Africa, into a polygamous family where he had 24 stepmothers and 67 step-siblings. Eric was the youngest of his father’s 68 children and he grew up without receiving any formal education. For lack of better ways, he was raised in want and lack though his father earned a living as a traditional medicine man.
Growing up, Penny Penny worked odd jobs to make ends meet, seeing how large his family was. He worked in the goldmines in West Driefontein which is near Carleton and also worked as a farmer at other times. Eric’s woes were compounded when his father died and with the terrible working conditions in the goldmines, in addition to the poor pay package the work came with, he decided to leave Carletonville.
Meanwhile, before Papa Penny left home, he had already become locally famous for his entertaining dancing skills which have won him a couple of local dancing awards. It was through dancing that he first earned the nickname Penny. As Papa Penny got on with his dancing career, he was also making music by the side and it was through the latter that he had his first taste of fame in 1994 at the age of 32. It was his debut album Shaka Bundu which he recorded making use of primitive musical gears that turned out to be a huge success as about 250,000 copies of the album were sold.
Now 55 Years Old, Penny Made the Bulk of His Wealth From Music and TV Show
With Shaka Bundu having announced Papa Penny on South Africa‘s music stage, he dropped a couple more albums that were all successful in the years that followed. Laphinda Shangaan came in 1997 while Makanjta Jive was released in 1998. However, after this time, the musician went into obscurity until Brian Shimkovitz’s owned Awesome Tapes From Africa relaunched his career to the global audience with his Shaka Bundu hit album.
It was during this time that Papa Penny’s songs began trending in Los Angeles clubs and he built on his newfound fame to release new albums in the years that followed. These albums include Viyana (2000), Goldbone (2019), Mphe (2019), and Penny Silima Watolovela (2019). His fame came with opportunities for him to sell thousands of his records, perform in musical concerts and shows all over the world where he had fans. As he met up with these engagements, the musician’s income swelled. With his first paycheque of R150,000 ($10,800), the musician was able to buy his first house in Kempton Park, in Johannesburg’s East Rand.
By 2017, Papa Penny began starring in his own television show titled Penny Ahee which airs on Mzansi Magic. The Tsonga disco king’s show is all about his life with his family consisting of his 25 children and wives most of whom he has divorced. He had his youngest child Penny Penny Junior with Mama Naomi in April 2019. His other 23 children are from previous relationships. Unlikely his father, Papa Penny can’t be termed a polygamist, even though it is questionable why he chooses to divorce the mothers of his children. And for the number of kids he has had, the musician is of the opinion that he is not stopping as long as he is able to have children.
What is the Most Prominent Source of Papa Penny’s $300, 000 Net Worth?
Given that he earned his first bulk money and also got famous as a musician, Papa Penny’s music career has also been the main source of his $300, 000 net worth which is over R4.2 million. Though over the years, he has been able to diversify his sources of income into non-music-related endeavors, the most notable of which are his TV show and monetizing his image. His album sales, royalties and payments he has received from show performances made him the most money. Besides, his TV show debuted only recently in 2017.
On the other hand, Papa Penny could have made as much as R1 million which is no less than $70, 000 if he had featured in signed an ambassadorial deal for Standard Bank’s Gold Master Card back in 2018. In a news publication we monitored on Sowetanlive, the deal fell through at what seemed like the last stage. Instead, Penny Penny was paid a meagerly R100, 000 instead of R200, 000 as compensation for the deal’s cancellation.
Be that as it may, the musician has also seen a couple of other endorsements/sponsorship deals that went on fine. Notable among them are his adverts with MTN and DSTV which he is believed to have earned handsomely from.
As financial advice to younger musicians, the Tsongo King has berated his youthful self who at the time he was touring the world and selling thousands of his albums, all he could think of was fame. But in 2003, he returned to his village broke. Now older and wiser, he is advising younger musicians who are having a time of their lives to think more about savings and having life insurance.
Deets of Papa Penny’s Family Life
At the age of 55, Penny Penny has more people calling him daddy/papa than many South African men could imagine in their entire life. And perhaps many more will still call him daddy/papa in the years to come.
However, though he is known to have many children, not all his kids are known, neither are all his wives known. But through his Ahee Papa Penny reality TV show, the musician hopes to reunite with all of them. Some of those we have gotten a few deets about from the show are his daughter Anele, his son Bafana and another of his daughter Naomi. Also, we have met his youngest son Penny Penny Junior whom he has with Mama Naomi.