Kwesta Perfoming at City-View in Durban.jpg
Kwesta performing at City-View in Durban 2016
Senzo Mfundo Vilakazi

(1988-08-11) 11 August 1988 (age 33)
Katlehong, Gauteng
Other namesDaKAR
Yolanda Mvelase
(m. 2017)
Musical career
OriginEkurhuleni, Gauteng, South Africa
Years active2002–present
  • Buttabing (former)
  • Urbantainment (former)
  • RapLyF (former)
Associated acts

Senzo Brikka Vilakazi (born 11 August 1988) known professionally as Kwesta, is a South African rapper and songwriter.[3] Born in Katlehong, Gauteng, a township also known as "K1".[4] In 2003, at the age of 15, he and his friends formed a rap group Ghetto Fellaz which then changed to The Juvenylz, in 2003. He is currently signed to his own independent media company known as RapLyf Records with co-founder Kid X.[5]

He released his debut studio album Special ReKwest (2010) and his second album DaKAR (2013), which peaked number 3 on the iTunes South African Hip-hop/Rap chart.[6]

On 26 February 2016, he released his third studio album, titled DaKAR II,[7] with singles include; "Ngud'," "Nomayini", "Day Ones", "Ngiyazifela Ngawe," "Mayibabo" and "Mmino". The album was certified 7x Platinum by the Recording Industry of South Africa (RISA).[8][9] Having sold 210 000 copies in South Africa, Kwesta became best selling hip hop albums of all-time.[10][11]

The single "Spirit" was released in 2017, featuring the American rapper Wale, and was certified platinum by RISA.[12][13]

His most reputable accolades include 6 South African Music Awards, 4 South African Hip Hop Awards, 1 MTV Africa Music Awards, and 1 Metro FM Awards.

Life and career

Kwesta attended Phumlani Secondary School in Katlehong for three years, and later Alafang Secondary School.

He developed an interest in poetry during his high school years and received positive feedback and encouragement from fellow students and teachers.

In 2003, Kwesta became a part of the group The Ghetto Fellas later known as The Juvenylz.[14] The group disbanded after two years.

After the group's disbandment, Kwesta made an agreement with Africa's Most Southern Record Company for the use of their studios. During this time, Kwesta participated in competitions and events to provide visibility for his brand. He took part in YFM's Rap Activity Jam MC of the Month competition.[15] He topped ETV's Shiz Niz Freestyle Kings Special.[16] Also, he performed at The Rand Show, Miss Confidence Show and The Durban Beach Festival.

The rapper dropped out of high school at the age of 16.[17] After which he convinced his mother to give him the taxi fare necessary to get to Buttabing Entertainment's offices. The meeting resulted in him being added to the record label's roster marking the beginning of his signed career.[18]

Career beginnings

In 2007, Kwesta earned a judging gig on the Sprite Hip Hoop Tour and a feature on The Ventilation Street Tape.[16] He was also part of The Nokia Defend Your Street Campaign, where he worked with other artists to create the theme song.[19]

In the same year, Kwesta released his inaugural single Sharp Fede.[20] He later released a mixtape in collaboration with DJ C-Live.

In 2010, Kwesta was among the few chosen as Brand SA Ambassadors. He performed during the national roadshows held before the 2010 FIFA World Cup hosted in South Africa.[19] Kwesta worked alongside Kelly Rowland, Jozi, and 2Face amongst other artist on the Everywhere You Go anthem for MTN. He also performed during the 2010 FIFA World Cup closing ceremony.[21]

2010–2012: Special Rekwest

In September 2010, Kwesta released debut studio album titled Special Rekwest.[22] The album featured hit singles such as Babhemi, Flash It, Stomp and Pump It.

Flava received a synch-deal with DStv and got featured in the Loeries TV's 2011, ad-campaign.

Pump It received a synch-deal with DStv and Redds.

Stomp was one of the soundtracks for Death Race 3, an America action movie.

With the success of the album, Kwesta became South Africa's first rapper to have seven songs ranked on multiple radio charts in the same year. Special Rekwest earned SAMA nominations in 2011 for Best Newcomer and Best Rap Album.[23]

2013–2015: DaKAR

On 25 November 2013, Kwesta released his second studio album titled DaKAR (Da King of Afrikan Rap). The album ranked third on the South African iTunes Hip-Hop Charts during its debut.[24]

2016–2019: DaKAR II

In 2016, Kwesta released his third studio album titled DaKAR II. On January 18, 2016, Ngud' was released featuring, Cassper Nyovest.[25]

At annual MTV Africa Music Awards, the single "Ngud'" received a nominations for the song of the Year.[26][27]

On April 26, 2018, DaKAR II was certified 7x by the Recording Industry of South Africa (RiSA).[28]

2021–present: g.o.d guluva

On 30 April 2021, Kwesta released his fourth studio album, titled g.o.d guluva, featuring Thabsie, Focalistic, TLT, Yanga Chief, K.O.[29] Album peaked No. 4 on South Africa Top 100 Albums[30]

At the 2021 Mzansi Kwaito and House Music Awards, his single "Njandini" received a nomination for the Best Kwaito song.[31]


Studio albums

Title Album details
Special ReKwest
DaKAR (Da King of Afrikan Rap)
  • Released: 25 November 2013 (SA)
  • Label: Urbantainment
  • Formats: Digital download & CD (5 May 2015)
  • Released: 26 February 2016
  • Label: Urbantainment, Sony Music Entertainment Africa
  • Formats: CD, digital download
  • Certification: 7x Platinum
2 Skeif
g.o.d guluva

Notable singles

List of singles as lead artist, with selected chart positions and certifications, showing year released and album name
Title Year Peak chart positions Certification Album
South Africa (EMA)
"Ngud'" (featuring Cassper Nyovest) 2016 1 RISA:

7x Platinum

"Spirit" (featuring Wale) 2017 1 RISA: Platinum[33][34][35][36] Non-album single
"Vur Vai" 2018 TBA Non-album single
"I came, I saw" (featuring Rick Ross)[37] 2020
"—" denotes a recording that did not chart or was not released in that territory.


Awards Category Results Ref.
23rd SAMA Best Male Artist of the Year Won [38][39]
Highest Airplay of the Year (Ngud') Won
Best Rap Album Won
Highest Airplay of the year (Ngud') Won
Best Album of the Year Won


  1. ^ "Stylish wedding for Kwesta". SowetanLIVE.
  2. ^ "Under 30 Creatives - Forbes Africa". 4 June 2018.
  3. ^ Correspondent, Local (1 September 2020). "VIDEO: South African rapper, Kwesta unveils new project". ABTC. Retrieved 6 November 2020.
  4. ^ Kwach, Julie (15 November 2018). "Kwesta's biography: origin, career, albums, family". Briefly. Retrieved 9 November 2020.
  5. ^ "Kwesta on his team: If I ran Raplyf, I'd run it to the ground". TimesLIVE. Retrieved 6 November 2020.
  6. ^ "Kwesta's Rise To Fame". ZAlebs.
  7. ^ "WATCH | Kwesta's in studio cooking up Dakar III & it sounds like fire". TimesLIVE.
  8. ^ Pillay, Deshni (29 November 2019). "Kwesta celebrates new milestone: Dakar II is SA's best-selling album".
  9. ^ "Kwesta's 'DaKAR II' Album Has Gone 7x Platinum". okayafricasite.
  10. ^
  11. ^ "Kwesta's Da KAR II is now the best selling SA hip hop album of all time | MTV Africa".
  12. ^ "Kwesta drops hit single Spirit in collaboration with US rapper Wale". SowetanLIVE.
  13. ^ "Kwesta is in high Spirits for his new track". CapeTalk.
  14. ^ "South African Band bookings – KWESTA". Retrieved 6 November 2020.
  15. ^ "Hi my name is Hip Hop: LOCAL RAPPER OF THE MONTH". Hi my name is Hip Hop. Retrieved 6 November 2020.
  16. ^ a b "Music - Kwesta aka Mr Cool | Presenter". Retrieved 6 November 2020.
  17. ^ "Kwesta dropped out of school to follow music but wants to go back". TimesLIVE. Retrieved 6 November 2020.
  18. ^ "Kwesta leaves Buttabing Entertainment | MTV Africa". Retrieved 6 November 2020.
  19. ^ a b "Kwesta | HDS". Retrieved 6 November 2020.
  20. ^ "Sharp Fede". Hype Machine. Retrieved 6 November 2020.
  21. ^ "Kwesta - MTN Bushfire Festival 2020 : MTN Bushfire Festival 2020". Retrieved 6 November 2020.
  22. ^ "TheMusic.Today - Music album Special ReKwest by Kwesta". Retrieved 6 November 2020.
  23. ^ "2011 SAMA nominees announced". Retrieved 6 November 2020.
  24. ^ 11, tumelo on August; Said, 2015 at 5:19 Am. "Kwesta:biography". HipHopAfrican. Retrieved 23 March 2016.CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  25. ^ "Kwesta drops 'Ngud' new single feat. Cassper Nyovest - Mytvnews". Mytvnews. 18 January 2016. Retrieved 1 July 2021.
  26. ^ Alyssa Klein (23 October 2016). "The Full List of MTV Africa Music Awards 2016 Winners". OkayAfrica.
  27. ^ Alyssa Klein (22 October 2016). "Here's the Full List of Nominees at the 2016 MTV Africa Music Awards in Johannesburg". OkayAfrica.
  28. ^ "Kwesta's 'DaKAR II' Album Has Gone 7x Platinum". OkayAfrica. 16 April 2018. Retrieved 9 November 2020.
  29. ^
  30. ^ "South Africa Top 100 Albums | Top Charts". Top Charts.
  31. ^ Shumba, Ano (18 June 2021). "Mzansi Kwaito and House Music Awards 2021: All the nominees". Music In Africa.
  32. ^ "Kwesta - Butan". Butan. Retrieved 23 March 2016.
  33. ^ "Kwesta and Wale go platinum in SA". channel24. Retrieved 21 January 2018.
  34. ^ "@KwestaDaKAR #Spirit Has Gone Platinum!". SlikourOnLife. Retrieved 21 January 2018.
  35. ^ "Kwesta's #Spirit goes platinum". SA Breaking News. Retrieved 21 January 2018.
  36. ^ "Kwesta's 'Spirit' Single Hits 'Platinum'". Hype Magazine. Retrieved 21 January 2018.
  37. ^ "Kwesta and Rick Ross' new single out".
  39. ^ Emmanuel Tjiya (21 December 2018). "Kwesta crowned King of SA hip-hop". SowetanLive.