The Mahotella Queens is a South African female
band formed in 1964 by music producer Rupert
Bopape consisting of Hilda Tloubatla, Nobesuthu
Mbadu, and Amanda Nkosi. The group is noted for

their distinct vocal harmony sound, guitar-
led mbaqanga music, and fast stage dancing.

Bopape was a talent scout and producer at the
independent Gallo Africa’s subsidiary dedicated to
black music, Mavuthela Music Company. He
formed the Mahotella Queens as the company’s
resident girl group and the ensemble, often led by
the deep-voiced male vocals of Simon ‘Mahlathini’
Nkabinde, went on to have many hit records
during the 1960s. The Queens line-up during this
period usually comprised Hilda Tloubatla, Juliet
Mazamisa, Ethel Mngomezulu, Nobesuthu Mbadu
and Mildred Mangxola. The Queens and
Mahlathini were backed by Mavuthela’s house
band, the Makgona TsohleBand (including Marks
Mankwane on lead guitar and West Nkosi on alto
saxophone). In 1972 the line-up of the Mahotella
Queens disintegrated after royalty disagreements
with Bopape; Mahlathini left the company in a
similar dispute with the producer. However, with
a change of membership, the Queens remained
productive and popular into the 1970s and 1980s.
In 1987, following the explosion of interest in

South African music, the Queens line-up was
rejigged and three of its original singers – Hilda
Tloubatla, Nobesuthu Mbadu and Mildred
Mangxola – returned to the group. In combination
with Mahlathini, the group forged a successful
international touring career that lasts to this day.
In spite of the deaths of Mahlathini, Marks
Mankwane and West Nkosi during the late 1990s,
the Mahotella Queens continue to perform and
record in the 21st century. In 2013, long-serving
member Mildred Mangxola retired from the
group. She was replaced by a new recruit,
Amanda Nkosi.

They were successfully popular in and around
South Africa 1964–72, but found international
success 1987–97, notably at the 70th-birthday
tribute to Nelson Mandela at London’s Wembley
Arena in 1988, going on to feature in many
international festivals. In 2015, The Mahotella
Queens celebrated their 50 Years on Stage.

May 10, 2019 10:20 pm CMW Presents Spotlight on South Africa Showcase – May 10th, 2019
May 11, 2019 4:30 pm YDS, Saturday May 11th