By OVAYO MILISA NOVUKELA
SAMA award-winning legend Ringo Madlingozi has a day job as an Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) MP. But, as he proved at the Guy Butler Theatre last night, he hasn’t yet entirely traded in his musical roots for the red beret.
Born in Peddie in 1964, Madlingozi says his music has always been political: “Even my first album, Vukani.“
Madlingozi promised he would continue to “sing about love and the pain our beloved people are facing and the joy I wish we could have”.
Madlingozi said the past two years have been tough on artists’ economic and psychological health. Some have died from depression.
“There was money that was supposed to be given to us, but it vanished – we won’t talk about that.
“I have released six songs in those two years, but I won’t lie – I haven’t full advertised those songs on social media,” Madlingosi said. Madlingozi said digital streaming was a challenging platform. “Hackers are stealing our songs – but those that truly love my music do buy it. I thank my fans for that.”
“I need to learn the digital world and get young people to help me and make use of it to be more visible,” Madlingozi said.
He described the EFF as an organization that was born and filled with young minds.
“It is the youth who can change everything. The youth of 1968, 1976 and 1985 changed the country. We should listen to what the youth have to say.
“This is what I call love; the love to speak one’s mind and restore the dignity of black people in our country and continent,” Madlingozi said.
The EFF is known for its confrontational politics and is often the ‘black sheep’ of Parliament. On 10 June, Parliamentary Speaker Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula suspended proceedings after several EFF MPs were physically removed from the chamber.
“We cannot sit there in Parliament and say nothing just because the heads say we must keep quiet. The major points that need to be discussed are just swept back. We can’t sit down and pretend that it is not happening,” he said.
“It’s okay when we are chased out as long as they heard our cry. We don’t need to be part of that playful fiasco of Parliament. But we need change – people are hungry, and the best place to address these issues is in Parliament.”
He said when the public gives power to EFF, “the world will see that the EFF loves the nation”.
Madlingozi thinks President Cyril Ramaphosa needs to step aside in the wake of Phala Phalagate.
“We also can’t have a president who publicly condemns GBV but who does the opposite thing in private.”
Madlingozi is planning ‘Ringo Live 3’: “I have about 180 songs floating around, and I am planning to work with young people on this one.”