THE MAN BEHIND THE VISION
THE MAN BEHIND THE VISION
The saying that goes ‘leaders are born not made” explains Tzozo perfectly. Thokozani Owen Zulu a.k.a. T’zozo originates from the South of Durban in a place called Umgababa. After matriculating at Etshelenkosi High School in Stanger, he enrolled for diploma in Business Management at the Durban University of Technology (DUT), but it was his love for kwaito music that showed dominance and he joined KALAWA JAZZMEE records in 2004. He was a co-writer for a song” Ukujaiva” sang by Trompies, a prominent kwaito group. He also wrote for B.O.P “Shiyiscefe” in 2004. In 2005 T’zozo and Mkhonzeni “Professor” Langa formed the duo T’zozo and Professor. The duo proved to be a force to be reckoned with as they released their first album in 2005 which had the monster hit Woz’eDurban, which went on to receive an Award for Excellence from the Department of Tourism, nominated for the prestigious SAMA Awards. They were the first Durban kwaito artists to win the Best Kwaito at the Metro FM Music Awards 2005. As a song writer, T’zozo’s songs carry strong messages as a result his songs have taken him all over the world such as London, Leeds, Manchester City, Stratford, Dubai, Ireland, Swaziland, Zimbabwe.
Very significantly, T’zozo was an Ambassador for the KZN Department of Health (DoH) from 2009-2011. Amongst his endeavours as an Ambassador, he has been involved in some notable projects which have contributed positively in HIV/AIDS prevention and awareness campaigns, and moral regeneration. In conjunction with AIDSWISE and New Start, T’zozo has visited high schools, FET colleges and the institutions of higher learning motivating, sensitising and educating young people with an aim to promote and encourage young people to talk openly about sexual indiscretions and health issues including HIV/AIDS thereby helping to raise awareness of the deadly epidemic. In his role as the DoHs’ Ambassador, the Kwaito singer and song writer T’zozo has numerously tested openly for HIV/AIDS, setting an impressive example for young people to do the same. By stepping up not only in word, but in action, T’zozo has gone beyond conventional celebrity cause-promotion by reducing the social stigma surrounding HIV/AIDS testing. In doing so, he inspires young people to take the next step and do the same. His action is a prime example of the standard of integrity the Office of the Premiers’ HIV/AIDS Prevention Campaign ‘Angilahli Campaign’ stands for “I will not let him/her take advantage of me sexually and emotionally”. T’zozo leads a healthy lifestyle as he does not drink or smoke.
T’zozo is also an IEC Ambassador whereby he is promoting and educating young people about the importance of registering in the voter’s roll and voting.
He is a spokesperson for the Creative Workers Union of South Africa in KZN (CWUSA) that falls under COSATU, which is a union that protects and fights for artists’ rights. He is the founder member of the Umgababa New Years’ Picnic which is held annually at the former Umgababa Holiday Resort. The aim of this New Year’s Picnic is to provide entertainment for the community, uplift the residents of Umgababa to create a tourism attraction as well as providing a platform for income generation for the citizens to sell and showcase their goods, ranging from food to craftwork and fashion items.T’zozo realised that the economic, social and personal value of "investing" in young people’s lives in a positive and constructive manner avoids the social and penal system costs that may later result, hence the T’zozo Foundation which seeks to help young people aspire to a life that includes positive and full economic and social participation. The T’zozo Foundation go beyond where young people start, to widen horizons, promote participation and invite social commitment, in particular by encouraging young people to be critical and creative in their responses to their experience and the world around them.
One of T’zozos’ positive initiatives is a Motivational Drama School Tours which aims to deliver positive messages and promote responsible lifestyles regarding substance abuse, sex and HIV/AIDS education and the importance of the skills development. Tzozo is currently an Ambassador for the Department of Transport “Operation Val’Ingozi”, and has produced a song “VALINGOZI” which hopes to educate and raise awareness about the Val’Ingozi campaign. He is currently an Ambassador for the Department of Community Safety and Liaison and has done a song for operation “HLASELA” which also aims to reduce crime.
He has initiated the ‘Sport Against Crime’ which is now known as Phansi Ngobugebengu T’zozo Sports Festival’. The campaign is held annually in partnership with eThekwini Municipality, Community Safety and Liaison, Love Life and the Department of Sports and Recreation. This festival aims to reduce the potential in young people to become involved in drugs, sex, crime, and gang-related behaviours during school holidays.
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