How Mapara A Jazz, The John Vuli Gate Sensation Rose To Stardom?

Since Mapara a Jazz album broke in August 2020, we have seen their global rise to fame. In one month, their hit John Vuli Gate has been downloaded in 23 countri


Article by: Tracy

Since Mapara a Jazz album broke in August 2020, we have seen their global rise to fame. In one month, their hit John Vuli Gate has been downloaded in 23 countries and 92 cities in the world. Their fame has been received by much fanfare by their true fans. Their fame has certainly brought some major positives. Atteridgeville and Pretoria artists are starting to get recognition from foreign countries in large numbers. The song created a sense of urgency from some of the emerging musicians, it created hope for other musicians from similar backgrounds. Almost anyone who had spared their projects wanted to get it quickly to the streets. Some of the greatest songs have followed but of course nonpopular as John Vuli gate by Mapara A Jazz, Ntosh Gazi, and Colano.

But in all truth, Mapara A Jazz, have consistently produced hits and have had people dancing to their music long before they were called Mapara A Jazz, we can take you back to their first song with DJ Wonderboy titled “Legwinya” 13 years ago or most recently Corona to name a few.

The success of Mapara A Jazz is indeed a success for many, take, for instance, the ladies, led in front by @katt_arianna, that had been credited for the success of “John Vuli Gate” who have been making TV appearances and have apparently collected endorsements from some of the liquor brands and clothing stores and also the “John Vuli Gate” T-shirts that have been making rounds all over social media.

The shooting of 2 music videos

Mapara A Jazz had initially shot the music video (Check the behind the scenes of the initial music video shoot) without the ladies that made the song popular, however, their fans demanded that the ladies who had been credited for the success of the video be included in the music video, after all there was already a “johnvuligate” Twitter handle created which had been used to seek these ladies for a shoot. The expectation and the belief were that including them in the video will help build on the momentum that had already been created. As fans would have it, Mapara a Jazz, decided to shoot a second part to the music video, this time around with them included.

The cyberbullying

Unfortunately for the ladies that made the song popular, their newfound fame had not gone without criticism and certainly to a larger extent cyberbullying on what is referred to as black Twitter.

John Steenhuisen uses John Vuli Gate as the campaign slogan

The song is so popular that even the DA’s John Steenhuisen used the name of the slogan for his campaign (“John Vuli Gate’ reaches new heights”, 2020).



The contract offers

Mapara A Jazz themselves were overwhelmed by the number of offers that were made to them. Some of the industry heavyweights were offering large sums of money for the song. One of them even offered to pay for the costs of the song up front, 50% royalties, and publishing rights.  Mind you the song had not been playing on the radio yet. It was not on any paid music platform. It was still in the streets and people were playing and dancing for it.

The controversy

Of course, the success of the song has had its own fair share of controversies, a dancer who has always choreographed moves from Mapara A Jazz contacted Mac G to claim that his dance was incorrectly credited to Limpopo boy. This is the same gentleman who was video recorded with some of his friends in the fuel station dancing to the song. In Mac G’s interview, he wanted two things, he wanted credit to the dance move and compensation. Mapara A Jazz came out to say he was not originally dancing to their song; all they did was to add “John Vuli Gate” to their video. As to whether who is the originator between him and Limpopo boy still remains a mystery.

As if the issue had been put to bed, another controversy arose, Man Malaya’s (One of Mapara a Jazz duo) younger brother, Scara, claimed credit to the song. They had to go provide a statement to the police for the same allegation on the day of their performance to Idols SA.

The successes

Mapara A Jazz’s “John Vuli Gate” is breaking barriers. People all over are taking part in the “John Vuli Gate” dance challenge. The song has also reached the Shazam’s global Top 50.

The big elephant in the room: does radio make an artist or is the radio made by musicians

South Africa is not short of talent, you may be misled by the rotation of the same songs on the radio to think that is the representation of South Africa, far from it. People jam for different music, just like they were jamming for other tracks by Mapara A Jazz before.

In Pretoria, the North West, and Limpopo at least the streets are ran by Barcadi, Bolo House, and Amapiano. Think the streets, think DJ Dadaman, the Pusha Skorokoro Producer, Team Skorokoro, Team Delela, Mapara A Jazz, Dj Wonderboy, Lez Moral, Born Afro etcetera. Communities rally around their artists. Mapara A Jazz with John Vuli Gate is one such example.

Another example of community adoption is Born Afro, just after their music video was released, the community of Ga-Rankuwa and their community radio stations started streaming and circulating music for streaming and downloading their music.

“communities make superstars and radio stations adopt them”

It is my view, that communities make superstars and radio stations adopt them. My advice for artists is that stop worrying about radio focus on your fans. Make good music for them. These are the people that take you to greater heights.

The success of “John Vuli Gate” is again the affirmation that “on the ground” people are dancing to completely different music that what is played on radio. The song “John Vuli Gate” was released on August 2020 and became a sensation towards the end of October. To date, John Vuli gate has been downloaded in 23 countries and 92 cities in the world, with South Africa, Germany, Ireland, Nigeria, Zimbabwe, United States, Botswana, and Namibia leading the downloads.

Of course, for many, radio is still seen as a stage for fame, it provides the needed affirmation that you are making good music, that you are the correct grade as a musician. For some, it provides the comfort that finally they will start getting paid royalties, however, most event managers do not use that as a measure of popularity with the fans anymore. For most instances, social media fans and engagement has been used as a measure up until recently, where event managers will come to to determine who of the artist have a large fanbase.

 If you want to fill your venue with patrons, you need to put your ear to the ground. On any day, pass by the townships and listen to the music being played in the street. Most of the popular music in the streets do not end up on the radio, for example, Bacardi music which has a huge following in Pretoria and offshore in places like England and Belgium cannot be found on almost all South African radio stations.

One day, we conducted a quick survey, and the question we asked was “Do you listen to Radio?”, the responses were interesting, most people indicated that they don’t listen to the radio as much as they used to some said they only listen to the radio when they are driving. They also indicated that the type of radio stations that they listen to is mostly talk radio and that they do not listen to the radio for music most of the time, they only do for current affairs.

“Radio is powerful”

Now we are not saying radio is dead, certainly not, radio is powerful, it is one of the cheapest mediums for one to access music.


Download link to John Vuli Gate:

Mapara A Jazz music catalog:


 How did Mapara A Jazz do it?

They are the king of street hustle, and for any upcoming musician, they can take a leaf from their street hustle. Their release strategy has been consistent for some time and it always followed this pattern:

  1. They have a Whatsapp group mostly made up of their fans, they always communicate with these fans. They request video shout-outs from their fans. Normally these fans will respond by posting on their social media pages about the upcoming album of Mapara A Jazz at a specific date and time. They will urge everyone to save up their data so that they can download it.




  1. They will post these video shout-outs to create excitement and anticipation of their album release to create excitement on the ground and expectation.
  2. They will also post their own clips and write on the social media pages reminding fans about their upcoming album.
  3. On the day of the release, they will choose various songs and mix them with some video clips just like they did with “John Vuli Gate” when they superimposed their song on various videos of people dancing.
  4. They will upload their music to free streaming platforms and share links.
  5. The very same links will be shared on their WhatsApp groups and their social media pages and encourage their friends and fans to download.
  6. After a few days, they will ask fans who had challenges downloading their music on any music sharing platforms to provide their WhatsApp numbers so that they can send them the album
  7. They will also ask their fans to make music videos dancing to their songs

This has generally been their formula for success. They will perform at various functions for free at times to create awareness about their music.

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