He may not be in the same league with many of his peers, when it comes to flashy lifestyle s, he is not the kind of those who braai the weekend out far from his family, Senzo “Kwesta” Vilakazi would much rather spend the evening at home on the sofa, watching a movie with his loved ones.
The Ngud’ rapper has earned a name for himself for always having his shoulder on the wheel, while always putting his family first. He is an ardent believer in the notion 'family should always come first' when he spends days or even hours without seeing his family, he worries himself to ‘death,’ and this is why Kwesta was in low spirits when DRUM magazine recently caught up with him. He was crushed because he can’t spend this Christmas with his makoti and their daughter this year.
However, his only consolation is that his wife, Yolanda Vilakazi, and daughter, Khai Asemahle Vilakazi (6), understand that everything he does is for them and that he’ll be back home before the firecrackers light up on New Year’s Eve.
DRUM met the family at the Radisson Blu Hotel in Sandton where they were spending family time after having had picked Khai up from school.
They were holed up in two bedroomed apartment, where during sleep time Kwesta (31) and Yolanda (29) challenge each other to a pillow fight like teens in love, we remark.
“Before anything, we’re best friends,” he told the magazine; “I don’t think this life and parenting thing would come so naturally had it not been for our friendship and love.”
The magazine witnessed Khai dragging her best friend 'her dad' by the hand to one end of the room where the two sat side by side at a grand piano, running their fingers along the keys. “I think today we might just learn how to play,” Kwesta said, as they tried to play Happy Birthday to You.
Her dad said Khai has taken a liking to music. “She loves my music and sings at school concerts. Her favourite song is Send Me Away by Nasty C and Rowlene,” he said.
His daughter is friendly and talkative. “We let her do what she wants a lot of the time, but we instil good basic values,” her dad said; “Kindness, good manners, greet, always say please and thank you – the rest we’ll work on along the way.”
He added that he is a ‘chilled dad' who is in awe of his little girl. “Every day I learn something new from her. She’s a logical thinker and very expressive. I love it when she surprises me by saying something intelligent or funny,” he said.
Nothing thrills Khai than climbing on the jungle gym at the clubhouse of the Centurion estate where they live. “I love playing with my friends at the clubhouse and having my mom and dad around,” she said.
“That’s her favourite hangout spot. We usually go there on weekends to catch up with other parents,” Yolanda said.
Khai may have her father wrapped around her finger, but her mom is more of a disciplinarian. “We allow her to be a child and to create memories. But she’s a daddy’s girl,” Kwesta said with a smile.
“These two are best friends. They’re inseparable,” Yolanda added.
Instead of taking festive bookings, Kwesta had planned to be home with his family this Christmas their first after their white wedding. But duty calls and his multitude of fans are demanding to be entertained because Ke Dezember.
While he is away setting stages ablaze with his performance, Yolanda and Khai have a mommy and daughter beach break planned. They’re heading down to Durban to spend some time with her family.
Usually, they spend their holidays in Katlehong, Kwesta’s kasi, and would visit friends and relatives before going to Yolanda’s family in Durban. Not only does she support her husband, she also understands the demands of his job.
“You know, around the festive season everyone will be with their families, but I guess that’s the price one has to pay,” she said.
Yolanda who also happens to be a manages to a singer and songwriter Thabsie, understands what life is like for an artist on the road during the holidays. “I sometimes also travel with Thabsie, so I understand, but we can’t wait for him to come back home,” she said.
In January, they plan to travel as a family.
“Getting a taste of something
outside our comfort zones is refreshing. And we want our daughter to have fun before we start growing our family,” she said.
The Vilakazis don’t want a ‘football pitch' full of kids but wouldn’t mind another two or three soon. “We love family and being in a homely environment,” she added.
LAST month the Khethile Khethile rapper and his queen celebrated their ninth anniversary with a date at a seafood franchise. Kwesta posted a video on social media teasing his wife for their low-budget anniversary but there are no hard feelings. “We don’t really live by anyone’s standards but ours. As long as we’re happy and our daughter is happy,” Yolanda said.
Kwesta enjoys spoiling them and is the best gift-giver. He bought Yolanda, who shares a birthday with Khai, a Barcelos restaurant as a birthday present in October.
“That’s the most romantic gift I could ask for. He’s not buying me a bag but something that will empower me and our family,” she said.
“I just wanted her to have something she calls her own and to also do something away from music,” said Kwesta, who would not disclose how much he forked out for it.
Yolanda co-owns a top-end online hair store with Thabsie, who is her best friend. “I’m a businesswoman – I don’t see myself just being at home and looking pretty, and I think that’s another thing that attracted Senzo to me,” she said.
She said despite experience, owning a business is never a walk in the park. “Running a restaurant isn’t easy, but I’m learning and I love it,” she said.
A regular day at the Vilakazi home witnesses Yolanda dropping Khai off at school, going to the restaurant to check up on things and running day-to-day errands. “I’m usually asleep until 1pm because I would have been gigging the night before,” Kwesta said.
By the time he wakes up, it’s time to fetch Khai from school. “I avoid picking her up, she doesn’t like it,” he revealed.
“I don’t like it when he comes to my school because everyone just wants to greet him and take pictures,” explained Khai, who’ll be in Grade 2 next year.
Although the loving dad desperately wants to take his daughter to school, the fan love can be overwhelming. “I love my supporters and am always ready for a photo opportunity but I don’t want Khai to be treated differently just because her dad is Kwesta. She still needs to feel like a regular kid,” he said.
The year 2019, has been a good year for the award-winning rapper, and he is planning to wrap it up on a high note.
Kwesta’s album, DaKAR II, recently broke Mzansi music records when it garnered platinum status by selling 310 000 copies. He also collaborated with American rapper Rich Homie Quan on his single Run it Up.
“To be honest I didn’t do much musically in 2019. That wasn’t my focus. This year was dedicated to my family and my wedding – that is my biggest achievement this year,” he said.
Yolanda could not be outdone, or let him take all the credit for the special day, though. “All he had to do was pay,” she quipped.
The two lovebirds met at a music video shoot in 2010 and clicked immediately. “He wasn’t really my type, but he was persistent,” she recalled. Three years down the line; the couple had Khai, and in 2017 they wed in a traditional ceremony.
Their white wedding was perfect.
Yolanda said she planned everything from the outfits and décor, to the cake and their tropical honeymoon, while her husband played the paying role. The groom looked slick and stylish in a slim-fitting cream-and-black suit and the bride was a vision in a flowing white gown. The bridesmaids wore simple fitted maroon dresses, while the groomsmen, including rappers Yanga Chief and Bonginkosi “Kid X” Mahlangu, were clad in blue suits paired with maroon bow ties.
Kwesta certainly met all the expenses for their dream day the ceremony and reception venue were beautifully decorated in rose gold and white, with dozens of roses on display, while musicians Ringo Madlingozi, Vusi Nova, Dr Malinga, Sjava and Musa Sukwene entertained guests at the lush Thaba Eco Hotel in the Klipriviersberg Nature Reserve.
“I just wanted her to be happy and have the wedding every woman dreams of. That ( planning) is her strength. All I had to do was show up,” he said.
“I planned everything down to the past dot. I wanted it all to go well and for our day to be memorable,” Yolanda said.
After the ceremony, they flew off to the Maldives, leaving Khai with Yolanda’s cousin. Because she didn’t go with them on baecation, she gets to choose their holiday destination next year. “Zanzibar,” Khai screamed.
“There you have it,” Yolanda said. “She’s been dying to do Zanzi. We’ve been working hard, so we can enjoy downtime. Next year we want to do more travelling as a family and for our daughter to expand her mind in new places,” she said.
Growing up in Katlehong, Kwesta didn’t get to travel much but his hometown inspired him to dream bigger than his environs. “I’ve never wanted to be a doctor or had any desire to do anything other than poetry and music.
“I wanted to change people’s way of thinking, especially those who came from the same background as I did,” he said.
His humility takes credit for his relatable nature to his audience, Kwesta believes. “I don’t try too much. I just stay true to who I am all the time,” he said.
Kwesta loves his family so much and dedicated the year 2019 to his family. “Although I released music, 2019 was for my family and making sure we are stable. Now that the wedding is done, I can focus on the music and build,” he said.