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You  are the business! -Velile Sithole,  Native Rhythms CEO

 How many black owned businesses have stood their ground for many years and are still excelling in what they do? Very few.

One such company is Native Rhythms. A South African based Recording and Artist management company. 
They have done a tremendous job In managing some of South Africa’s biggest artists and representing them internationally.
Ntsako Mbhokota visits CEO and Co founder of Native Rhythms Velile Sithole for a chat to learn how she does it.


I personally believe in Black Excellence and always excited to see African owned and managed companies flourish. 

Native Rhythms is a real empire in the making. The company is headed by Velile Sithole who is the CEO and co-founder with her husband Sipho Sithole who is popularly known as Malambule an award winning composer and producer.

Native Rhythms is responsible for some of Southern Africa's biggest artists. The Soil, Tribute Birdie Mboweni, Isabella Novella,Driemanskap, Zakwe and many more.

Native Rhythms artists

Tribute birdie Mboweni

The Soil


Native has also produced and composed songs for leading artists such as Thandiswa Mazwai, Pu2ma, Siphokazi, Simphiwe Dana, Zuluboy, Camagwini, Unathi, Deborah Fraser, Xolisa Dlamini, Khululiwe Sithole, KB, Kelly Khumalo, Lebo Mathosa, and Rae.

Unathi Msengana

Thandiswa Mazwai

I've just arrived in Parkhurst to meet Velile Sithole. I'm a few minutes late but I'm lucky, she's in her office doing business as usual. She welcomes me and we both sit down. 


CAROB: What drives you ?
VELILE: Our business is driven by passion Ntsako, me and my partner/ husband both come from a corporate environment.
Sipho has always been passionate about music and I've always been passionate about business but none of us had any music background prior to establishing Native Rhythms in 1998...


CAROB:What made you get into the music business? 


VELILE: We would notice every time we traveled overseas that we could easily identify South African artists from the rest and something about them always showed that they are not being taken care of where they come from. That's when we decided that we need to find a way to get corporate to invest in the arts in South Africa and that's is how Native Rhythms was formed.


CAROB: What keeps you on top?

VELILE: An understanding that Native Rhythms is a business, It's not a place where artists come to jam and have fun,  it's a business. I know a lot of great musicians and producers who make beautiful music but because they lack control and discipline around their work space there's no direction at the end of the day.

CAROB: How does one make the cut?

VELILE: I always ask my artists when they come into Native Rhythms, do you understand that you're a business yourself? ...If you're an artist, you are the business. .. You have to understand that from the word Go.. If you can set goals for yourself and say, this is what I want to achieve and this is how I want to achieve it. Then you can work with me... We're in business!


She arranged fresh Orange juice and fruit salad,  I remember reading somewhere that she is a vegetarian and  exercise fanatic, all traits of the boss lady. ..Truly inspired and impressed by the woman sitting next to me.


Velile is an academic, a UPR and RAU graduate with a masters in political studies.

"I worked for myself from the onset. I was consulting for private companies drawing labor relations contracts and assisting them with business strategies for their businesses."

Among other clients that she serviced were giants such as MTN, Ericsson as well as the public sector.


 Inside Native Rhythms.

I was super excited to learn that The Soil was currently in studio working on their next album. Velile took me around on a tour around her office, we eventually arrived at the studio. We found them engaged in am intense recording session with their producer but they still let Carob in for pictures.