Themba Maringa, known as Ras-Themba The MelaninMan, is a rebel against the unjust political and religious systems. He is a revolutionary Reggae Dub poet who fearlessly speaks against political and religious institutions as he believes that they are a hindrance to Afrika and her development and independence as a continent. He is a firm adherent to Afrikan culture and traditions as preached by Marcus Garvey, Haile Selasi, Malcolm X, Robert Sobukwe, Steven Biko, Patrice Lumumba, Muamar Gaddafi, Robert Mugabe, Winnie Mandela and many others. He believes in the truth that the Afrikan land belongs to Afrikan people and will never be apologetic in that regard.
He enjoys reading Afrikan writers like Ai Kwei Armah, Chunia Achebe, Hanna Barbara Makedah, Ngungi wa Thiogo, Zakes Mda, Tsietsi Dangaremga, Don Materra, Kgafela Oa Makgokgodi, Vonani Bila, Maya Angelou,who are very significant to him and his art. He started as a Poet back in 1993 influenced by Jamaican Protest Poet, Mutabaruka (who inspired the name Melaninman), Peter Tosh and Don Matterra. He used to perform his Poems and songs at wedding ceremonies and birthday parties in and around his village and would also emulate ragga artists like Yellow Man and Shaggy. In 1995 he formed a band called, The Afrikan Ruhts, with his friends; Jeffry ‘Mad Cap’ Rikhotso, Amukelani ‘Ras-Amu’ Mashimbye and Eric ‘Shubby’ Maluleke, together they rocked their audience in parties and town malls.
In 2004 they released their first album under Ras-Themba and The Afrikan Ruhts titled Jah is Love. The album was recorded at Sharks Studios in Giyani and was produced by himself and Jeff Mashakeni. It sold over 9 000 copies through independent distribution and marketing and managed to secure interviews for them at Munghana Lo’nene FM, Thobela FM, Phalaphala fm, Univen FM and Turf Fm. It was this album that got them their first performance at Horror café in Johannesburg in 2005 alongside African Storm’s Jah Seed and The Admiral . The song Vuyani Ekaya became an anthem in Giyani and it became one of the most famous local reggae hits. They secured performances in various Munghana L’onene events, The Giyani show 2004/5, Maphungube Art Fest 2005, Thobela FM Sunsplash 2005, Univen Freshers Ball 2005.
In 2006 they released their second offering under The Afrikan Ruhts with Ras-Themba titled Fayah Burn. It was recorded at Moss Studios in Giyani and was produced by Ras Themba, Mad Cap and Scotch Mashakeni. The album did not do well in the market compared to the other, as Ras Themba had to leave for the North West University to further his studies. There he would became active in the arts and win awards. He was also a founding member of 5th Grove poetry club which still exists today. However the album Fayah Burn did get enough airplay at various radio stations like Munghana Lo’nene FM, Mafikeng Fm as well as Univen FM and sold over 3 000 copies. Some of the events that he managed to perform through this album were Zindala Zombili and the SABC Reggae Fest in Auckland Park. After its release he became one of Motsweding FM’s residence poet alongside Raggee The Beast, Nero The Visionary and Mpoho Ya Badimo in 2007.
During his stay in Mafikeng he got acquainted with local artists like Gomza and Tearless. It was through Gomza that he became familiar with Rwess Louis Studios and he fell in love with their production output. He started working with Rwess and Gomza. His third offering was rebellious dub poetry under Ras-Themba (The Melaninman) titled Nuttin’ But Da Trut. It was released in 2011 and people called it ‘The Death Wish’ because of the issues tackled in the album and the way he approached them. The album was recorded at Rwess Louis Studios in Mafikeng where he worked with people like Ramorwesi ‘Rwess’ Ntamu who co-produced the album, Jeffery ‘Mad Cap’ Rikhotso assisted in writing a number of lines in different pieces, Mandisa ‘Dizz’ Kekana who is featured on the track 3rd Eye and Mokgomotsi ‘Gomza’ Molaolwa who did backing vocals on all tracks. The album was critically acclaimed and got him interviews on Soweto TV and a number of radio stations. It sold about 7 000 copies through independent distribution and marketing. The album was well received by the audience who motivated him to go on telling the truth like its been told in the title track.
In 2012 he relocated back home (Giyani) where he started working on his next project which came out in 2015 under Ras-Themba (The Melaninman) titled Ndzilo wa mavivi. The album sold over 3 800 copies in just 3 months of its release. In this album he continues to expose the political injustices against his people and is mostly sang in Xitsonga, his mother tongue, to better put the message across. He produced the album which was recorded at G-Boy Records and Beats in Giyani, together with Scotch Mashakeni and G-Boy. It features songs from different studios, Leswo Saseka and Crying Nation in which the Afrikan Ruhts are featured and the new band members, Cynthia ‘Cee-Vee’ Maringa and ‘Sandile ‘Buwazi’ Rikhotso are introduced. The a track Ndzi dyisiwile was recorded at Rwess Louis Studios and Never Run Away featuring Judah Manton and Gomza was recorded at Master P Studios in Mafikeng. He also introduces his 10 year old son Ras Themba Jr in the track Ka tika Joni. The song tackles the issue of land and is a hit in Giyani and the surrounding areas due to the way he uses word play to ridicule politics.
Ras Themba has performed alongside some of the best artists in the land, including the likes of Mutabaruka, Mzwakhe Mbuli, Don Matterra, Khafela Oa Makgokgodi, Mpho ya Badimo, Rastaman Nkushu, Dr Thomas Chauke, Musa Msesho, George Maluleke, Rasta At Work, Mdu Masilela, Man Of The Past and Colbert Mukwevho.
My art is not only limited to poetry and music, I am a published author who has won several awards and have published anumber of manuscripts, from Folklore, Short Stories, Poetry and Drama by Nev Publications and Soul Of Africa Publishers respectively. Ras Themba
In 1999, 2002 and 2006 he had his Radio dramas aired by Munghana Lo’nene FM. He is a painter and graphic designer and an ambassador of his own designer T-Shirts named Born Afrikan. His music contributes in preserving Afrikan Identity, embracing culture as a key to a brighter future as well as Afrikan Traditions as an inheritance. He always ensures that the intelligence of our ancestors is not mocked and undermined by western indoctrination. He has performed in many events around Jozi and Tswane and whenever he is on stage he demands attention and speaks ‘Nutting but da trut’
Ras-Themba and the Afrikan Ruhts – Jah is love (CD Ras-T 001)
Produced by: Ras-Themba and Jeff mashakeni
Published by: Sharks Studios
Markerted by: Ras-Themba Music
Sleeve Designed by: Ras-Themba
02. Vuyani ekaya
04. Dance to Reggae
05. Pay Dem More
06. Jah is Lohv
The Afrikan Ruhts with Ras-Themba – Fayah Burn (CD APE 002)
Produced by: Ras-Themba, Jeffrey ‘Mad Cap’ Rikhotso and Scotch Mashakeni
Published By : Afrikan Pride Entertainment
Marketed and Distributed by: Afrikan Pride Entertainment
Sleeve Designed by: Beaulah Smith
01. Fayah Burn
02. Arrive Alive
03. Ndzi Mutsonga
04. Reggae Music
05. Perfect Love
06. Silah Silah
07. My people
08. Kings (Swa manghovo)
09. Ganjah Feel
11. Fikani mi hanya
Ras-Themba The MelaninMan – Nuttin But Da Trut (CD RWP 103)
Produced By: Ras-Themba and Ramorwesi ‘Rwess’ Ntamu.
Published by: Rebel Word Productions
Marketed and Distributed by: APE
Sleeve design by: Ras-Themba
1. On da road
3. 3rd Eye
6. Tricky Babylon
7. She left me hanging
8. Afrikan Dream (Salvashaan rddim)
9. I wa mina
10. Our Ways (Music from LKJ’s
11. The Paradox
13. Nuttin But Da Trut (Intense pressure riddim)
14. Dubbin da trut
15. Dub Wadada
16. Dub da road
Ras-Themba The MelaninMan – Ndzilo wa mavivi (CD APE 104)
Produced by: Ras-Themba, Scotch mashakeni, Jeff ‘G-Boy’ and Ramorwesi ‘Rwess’ Ntamu.
Published by: APE
Marketed and Distributed by: APE
Sleeve design by: G-Boy
1. Reggae Ya Xitsonga ft Shubby
2. Freedom Fighter
3. Ka Tika Joni ft Ras-Themba Jr
4. Leswo Saseka
5. Swi Onhake kwihi
6. All About Love ft Ras-Themba Jr (Mr Brown Riddim)
7. Ndzi nge swi Koti Ft Tee K
8. Madadada Reggae mix
9. Ndza ku khensa ft Shubby
10. Never Run Away ft Gomza and Judah Manton (music from Messian Dread Golgotha Dub)
11. Ndzi Dyisiwile
12. Ndzilo wa mavivi
13. Crying Nation
Tel: +27 82 255 3747.
Facebook: Ras-Themba Melaninman Maringa | Twitter: @rasthemba777
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