When Izinyoka Entertainment was established in 2010, the hype around it was nauseating, given the amount of media attention surrounding it.
For starters the media craze was to find out what would come of it, seeing as it was launched by three individuals - D-Jay, Zox and Ponti - who had unceremoniously left the Gazza Music Production (GMP).
When Zox was axed from his position as Gazza’s manager over allegations of dishonesty, he teamed up with his long-time friend and owner of Izinyoka Entertainment, Steven Gaeseb, to start the music label.
Zox took then GMP artist, D-Jay, with him, leaving Gazza crying foul and accusing the former of stealing D-Jay’s GMP contract.
Although harbouring long affiliations with GMP, Ponti was never actually signed under it and as such, his move didn’t cause much chaos.
In 2011, Jericho joined Izinyoka Entertainment after releasing his album, ‘Street Fame’, to be followed by kwaito trio, Streetkidz, who also left GMP to join Izinyoka.
Izinyoka was the most celebrated local music label at that point. Somewhere down the line, however, Zox would once again be accused of dishonesty regarding funds and was thus axed from Izinyoka Entertainment.
During the same year, Izinyoka artists released an album titled, ‘Cultural Revolution Vol1’. And wasn’t that a mediocre offering, which failed to live up to the hype!
Seemingly holding a chequebook in one hand and an axe in the other, Gaeseb also fired Jericho, a few months after Zox’s departure. This situation, pundits believe, brought about the stagnation of the label, especially because Jericho was then regarded as its ‘main’ artist.
Without the two, Izinyoka Entertainment no longer had the marketing and branding creativity of Zox and big-artist vibe and suasion of Jericho.
With nothing more than mere album promises for the remaining artists, it was only a matter of time until Ponti and Streetkidz exited too. Ponti should have left before anyone else but just like Streetkidz, his promising career went south.
“They might have left because they eventually grew impatient with the fact that the label needed to settle in before their albums could be dropped,” says D-Jay who is the only artist left at the label, yet has not released an album for the past three years while at it. Suffice to say, his musical career is barely alive.
“My musical career was on hold for a while but that’s because Izinyoka was undergoing a restructuring process. I needed the break, anyway, for me to work on taking my music to international platforms,” he adds.
Reacting to allegations of Izinyoka being a destructive resort to musical careers and failing to live up to the hype, its current manager, Jerald Johnson’s explanation is less convincing.
“Izinyoka has a vision for its artists and when they depart from us, it’s because they are not in unison with that vision. D-Jay still has it going for him, he has been working on music videos for the singles, ‘Namibia Worldwide’ and ‘Keep Doin It’,” quips Johnson.
Both Ponti and Jericho have released albums since leaving Izinyoka. And Ponti says he “left Izinyoka to do my own thing and is currently working on another album”.
Streetkidz’s Dicksampama admits leaving GMP for Izinyoka Entertainment was the biggest mistake, to date, for their musical career.
“Izinyoka terminated our contract, apparently because of disciplinary issues and for influencing D-Jay with our behaviour. Thirdly, the label was unhappy with the fact that we had Auntie Sousa in our ‘What’s Your Number’ music video. I don’t regret leaving, because we did not grow musically after parting ways with GMP,” Dicksampama submits while partners Chakalaka and Bones have refused to comment on the issue.
According to Dicksampama, Streetkidz are currently raising funds to release an appropriately titled album, ‘Back But Homeless’.