Yanga Chief reveals how he came to Johannesburg
Entertainer and rapper Yanga Chief spoke to Slikour about how he started his career and how he came to Johannesburg, well Slikour kicked off the conversation by congratulating Yanga Chief on his latest EP, then Yanga Chief told Slikour that back in the days when he was coming up as a young rapper, he used to call himself ‘The Ventilation King’.
Slikour : Congratulations on the EP ‘Being A Pop Star’.
Yanga Chief : Thank you.
Slikour : The first time I heard I was saying it sounds like you have put in a lot of work and time, I remember the last time you were talking to me about doing an album it was like late last year.
Yanga Chief : Yeah that is very true.
Slikour : And this is not even the album, what is taking so long for you to put out an album?
Yanga Chief : The album is something that I have planned to be the greatest album of all time, so when I called you it is because I wanted your voice to kind of kick start the album. Because the EP essentially is people just catching up to how far we are and how far we have come, it might sound like an album because like you have said I have put in a lot of work and spent a lot of time on it, but it is not necessarily the full story. It does not really say exactly where we are going, but it does say how far we have come and how good we are now and what we have been through, so it is more like a catch up type of project for everybody else.
Slikour : ‘Nangomso’, so I was wondering because that is the opening joint of the whole project, I was just wondering what you were trying to tell us, I think you’ve a got a line there where you are trying to talk about you getting high.
Yanga Chief : Well I was talking about me struggling to calm down anxiety.
Slikour : I have always wondered, when you said that and I was like maybe I never knew what anxiety is when I was young. I mean you have always wanted to be something.
Yanga Chief : Yeah
Slikour : And that is why I never knew that you rap.
Yanga Chief : yeah.
Slikour : Because you came to the city of Johannesburg and you wanted to be something.
Yanga Chief : Yeah
Slikour : So when you were studying, what the hell did you think you were going to be?
Yanga Chief : Well I studied to be in Johannesburg.
Slikour : Is there a course to be in Johannesburg
Yanga Chief : Not at all, but my situation is this, when I completed my matric, my older brother had actually matriculated a year before because we are a year apart. So my mother said, son we need you to take a gap here or just go to Absa and find a job until your brother is done with university. Now prior to that, my father passed away in June of 2010, and in this same month I was asked to go and study with my cousin at a rural school that my mother also attended back in the days. I went and started studying but in December of 2010 my Aunt said no, you can’t be studying out there, go back to Queen’s College and I will for everything. So I went to my mother and told her about what my Auntie had said, I also explained to her that I wanted to return and stay with her. She could also see how badly I wanted to be back with my friends because I had been at Queen’s College from Grade One. Imagine having previously been at a boy’s school and now I was at a college school in a rural area which is kind of a big adjustment. So my mother allowed me to go back at Queen’s College but she warned me that my Aunt won’t pay and indeed she never paid, so for the next two years we were literally staying in a house that my dad bought in the North but it was empty because my dad had just bought it.
Slikour : So your dad had just bought the house and then he passed away?
Yanga Chief : Yes, he bought the house and then he passed away when we were about to move into the house.
Slikour : Okay I get you.
Yanga Chief : So I get there and everyone is doing just okay because Mum doesn’t have to pay for my school fees, but then I come back and then she has to pay, and then things in the house became a bit weird. So I had to carry that for the next two years, not having chill in the house and feeling like it is your fault somehow. So when our mother asked me about matric and not go to varsity, I said cool, no problem. But now in matric I decided that I’m going to look for the easiest course at the University of Johannesburg because I was trying to go to Johannesburg, and the easiest course was literally Audiovisual Production management, so I decided to study that but first I had to pass the subjects that I needed to pass matric in order to get into that course at the University of Johannesburg.
Slikour : I do not feel like your subjects were any easy.
Yanga Chief : Yeah, so what I did is that I passed those subjects and qualified to get into the University of Johannesburg. And when I matriculated I said I’m going to do this Absa job here in Queen’s town, but I first need me a two weeks holiday in Johannesburg just to see what is popping.
Slikour : So was there a vacancy for your at Absa already?
Yanga Chief : I do not know, I never even went as far as checking. I was literally just going to walk in and do my thing, but anyway I got to Johannesburg and I put my bags down, because my Aunt said in Midrand. Then I took a taxi to the University of Johannesburg, my friends were already registering at the university and they were standing in the queue. Then I was like, what is that long queue that goes around the corner? then my friends were like no, that is NSFAS (National Student Financial Aid Scheme) you know, if you have qualified and you have been accepted, they pay for your fees. So I went and printed my documents and then joined the queue, and then NSFAS paid my fees. Then I spent the rest of the year squatting at my friend’s place.
Slikour : How old were you by then?
Yanga Chief : I was eighteen.
Slikour : How old were you when we met?
Yanga Chief : I was nineteen when I started working with you.
Slikour : You weren’t going to school by then?
Yanga Chief : Yes I was.
Slikour : At least you never liked it
Yanga Chief : No, because I thought that the University of Johannesburg would have like more practical stuff in my course, but then I was told it was going to be in the second year. So I studied and completed the first year at university, then second year began and on the first day we shot an advert, and I was excited. Then a month went by, then two months went by, then a term was done and then I investigated and asked a few people, “guys when are we picking up the camera again?” and they were like no, in third year. I was like what? no ways. So I joined SAC which is when I met you, we did a valentines auction thing and Bonang Matheba brought you as her celebrity friend. You know I had listened to your music with Skwatta Kamp from the time I was in the rural area. I think it was when I was in grade eleven in 2003, I remember the first time I heard Skwatta Kamp, I was never allowed to go to any parties especially when my dad was still around, so now it was just mum and she was just so lenient and there was a house party around the corner. I was all excited, got dressed up and left for the house party, when I entered the house party all I heard was a Skwatta Kamp music playing, I went to the DJ booth and told him, please can I borrow this CD because I wanted to copy all the songs on it.
So after going through all the above, Yanga Chief is now a successful rapper / musician with quite a big fan base.