Zithulele Khwela

Zithulele Khwela has won the legal battle against ‘Umkhokha: The Curse’ show producers. Image via Instagram @zithulelekhwela / @umkhokha_mzansi

R3M Dispute Settled: Zithulele Khwela Wins Copyright Battle

Zithulele Khwela, after battling the creators of ‘Umkhokha: The Curse’ for months, finally won proper credit for his songs in the show.

Zithulele Khwela

Zithulele Khwela has won the legal battle against ‘Umkhokha: The Curse’ show producers. Image via Instagram @zithulelekhwela / @umkhokha_mzansi

In a classic case of “pay the piper or face the music,” renowned producer, songwriter, and composer Zithulele Khwela has secured rightful credit and compensation for his soundtracks in the popular telenovela “Umkhokha: The Curse.” After months of battling the show’s creators over alleged exploitation and withheld royalties, Khwela’s music will finally be recognised and valued.

Also Read: ‘Umkhokha: The Curse’: Kwezi Ndlovu ‘replaced’ with Kwanele Mthethwa?

As reported by Zimoja, his victory follows a David-and-Goliath struggle which was led by seasoned music producer Tshepo Nzimande, owner of ZuzMuzi Music. Nzimande refused to stand by while Khwela, the man behind “Umkhokha: The Curse’s” melodies, was denied royalties for the show’s hit soundtrack “Mkhululi Wezoni” and other featured songs.

While the exact financial terms remain confidential due to a non-disclosure agreement, Khwela will now receive substantial recognition for his musical contributions to the show.

According to Sunday World, the saga began in October 2023 when Khwela, despite his music saturating the popular Mzansi Magic show, felt increasingly unheard. Zuzmuzi Music alleged that Khwela’s signature tracks were featured throughout “Umkhokha: The Curse” without his consent or any prior licensing agreements.

With millions of viewers tuning in each week, the show had undoubtedly benefited from Khwela’s music. Zuzmuzi Music demanded a hefty R3 million from the producers, igniting a legal battle that exposed the murky underbelly of music rights in the television industry.

Also Read: ‘Umkhokha: The Curse’ at centre of ‘R3m royalties dispute’

BEYOND MONEY, A MATTER OF RESPECT.

For Khwela, this wasn’t just about the money; it was about respect and validation. “Mkhululi Wezoni” was born from a “dark space,” he shared with Zimoja, and having his music exploited without proper recognition was deeply personal. He even confessed feeling betrayed by the show’s producers, who he claims initially promised him “heaven and earth.”

Also Read: ‘People dying paupers’: Top actors join fight for royalties, protection

Fortunately, Nzimande stepped in, determined to fight for Khwela’s rights. While remaining tight-lipped about the specifics, Nzimande confirmed the victory and assured Khwela would be compensated for his work. Producers, on the other hand, remained relatively silent, with Multichoice’s CEO simply stating, “The matter is closed now.”

The settlement not only ensures financial compensation but also acknowledges Khwela’s creative ownership and sets a precedent for fair treatment of artists in South Africa.

Also Read: Caiphus Semenya demands royalties from AKA’s management

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