The waters of South African music is indeed big. The industry has coughed out so many people that have made wave both within the African continent and beyond. In the waters of the country’s gospel music is the “Big Fish”, Sipho Makhabane.
Sipho has recorded success as a gospel musician since from the 1990s, as well as a music producer.
Sipho Makhabane, also known as Big Fish, was born in 1965 in Swaziland. He was born to a very poor family. Things however, even got worse when he lost his father at a very young age. As a result of many difficulties, Makhabane had to drop out of school even before completing his primary education.
First, Makabane worked in a Sugar plantation to support his mother, before moving on to work with the Kruger National Park as a construction worker. By the age of 21, Sipho had sharpened his skills enough to get a job with Pienaar as a construction worker.
While working as a construction worker, Big Fish kept nurturing his passion for music. It was however, until he began work for Telkom as a technician that he took it to the next stage.
In 1990, Sipho got married, and in 1996, he decided to concentrate entirely on his music, by recording his first piece.
In 1996, Sipho Makhabane songs began hitting the airwaves, with the production of Ngitinikela Kuwe. This was followed by more singles, then his albums, Thum’umlolo, Jesu Uliqhawe, and Yek’intokozo.
His fourth album, Uyigugu, came in 1998. His success continued in 1999 and 2001 with the release of Makadunyiswe and Calvary respectively. From then on, Sipho continued until 2010, when he officially retired from music.
In 2011, Sipho Makhabane returned from retirement to produced one of his best tracks, The Devil is a Liar. The song appeared in his album, Live at the Pretoria State Theatre. The album had 18 tracks including the Devil is a Liar.
One thing that contributed to the success of the Devil is a Liar track, was the simplicity of the liar lyrics. It allowed for fans to easily follow the song. The hit song featured Thinah Zungu.
Over his years in music, Sipho Makhabane songs had traversed beyond South Africa. The man began his career as a musician himself; however he has grown into producing for others as well as finding and developing new talents. He also marketed and promoted gospel music.
In an attempt to promote the Gospel music industry in South Africa and groom young talents, Sipho founded the “Big Fish” record. Through the record he was able to discover and mentor some leading gospel stars in the country such as Hlengiwe Mhlaba, Thobekile Mkhwanazi and Tshepiso Motaung.
In 2014 he appeared as a judge on South Africa’s show; I Want to Sing Gospel season 3. The reality show was started in 2008 to discover give young gospel artistes the opportunity to make it high in the industry.
Sipho Makhabane’s free music for download can be gotten online.
Achievements and Awards
- In 2001 and 2007, Sipho was awarded Best Producer in the Glory Awards in Swaziland.
- Shipho’s collaboration album with Jabu Hlongwane of Joyous Celebration, nailed him award for Best Traditional Gospel in 2007 South African Music Awards.
- In 2008 he clinched The Mama Beka Community Empowerment award
- In 2013, Makhabane was nominated under the Best Classic of All Times award at SABC Crown Gospel Awards.
- He has as well been nominated for KORA, awards, on the continental stage.
The philanthropist gospel star has traveled the world doing what he knows best. He has performed in different countries including Zambia, Swaziland, and on the 26th of September he will be performing in the United Kingdom. He has as well shared the stage with popular artistes like Kirk Franklin.
Apart from his love for music, the artiste has as well contributed through youth education. He was able to do this through his speeches against xenophobia. He also contributes through philanthropy.
Sipho Makhabane survived a car accident that almost cost his life. The crash occurred On 28 December 2014 in Middleburg. The hit singer had the crash on his way to a church service.
After the crash, Makhabane had remained unconscious for six days. He survived through what so many termed miracle.