Dan Tshanda Biography: Early Life, Career, Albums, Relationships, Controversy, Heart Failure, Legacy

From humble beginnings to world star

By  | May 20, 2020, 01:28 PM  | Dan Tshanda  | Top of The

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Dan Tshanda was a gospel musician who found international fame with the band Splash in the 1980s and later on as a solo artist.

Early Life

Born in Chiawelo, Soweto, Dan Tshanda had to leave school at a young age. Dan got a job as a newspaper vendor for an Afrikaans newspaper, where his father worked as a sweeper. He needed to help contribute to the family income and so when he was old enough to drive he found work as a taxi driver. 

While working as a taxi driver, he made a demo cassette, which was submitted to a record company, by then Dan had started a group known as Flying Squad.

Dan and Splash performing live. photo credit: diplomat.co.zw

Starting A Band

He also started his own group, Flying Squad, which released the album 'Mr Tony' on Gallo Records in 1985. 

The album was not a success, but the late Hamilton Nzimande of Gallo Records gave the squad a second chance.

Ray Phiri of Stimela was impressed with the band and wanted them as a support act, suggesting they change their name to Splash. They soon hit the big time and released classic albums such as Peacock (1986), Snake (1987), Money (1988) and Tshokotshoko (1989).

The group's first album titled Peacock, set them on the fast lane to success. By the time they released the album Money,  they were working really hard at their music career as their future in it was looking very bright. 


Continuing to release Splash albums annually for much of the 1990s, including Eye For An Eye (1990), Why (1994), Cellular (1995), and Double Face (1997). In the late '90s Tshanda left Gallo and released Crocodile (1998) with Bula Records before launching his own label, Dalom Music.

He continued to churn out big-selling albums like Ndivhuwo (2001) and Sethopha (2003). This is the album that got Dan international recognition. In 2009 he released a double album for the first time – the first disc titled Tolovela by Splash and the second half comprising Tshanda's gospel-flavoured Time to Shine. In 2014 he returned with a new Splash album titled, Delele.

These albums were released, marketed, promoted and distributed by his record company Dalom Music Distributors cc.

Dan on stage photo credit: thestandard.co.zw

Dan the Perfectionist

Due to his dedication and love for his music, Dan Tshanda was always on top and always wanted to continue striving- to remain on top. He was very detail orinated and made sure things were just right before letting the world in on his work. But, his hard work definitely paid off when he received awards for his production on two of his projects.

Tshanda was one of the few 'bubblegum pop' artists to become a highly successful businessman too, both with his label and other ventures. He was a popular drawcard both in South Africa and in neighbouring countries like Botswana and Zimbabwe. Almost all the albums he produced went gold or platinum, selling more than 1 million records in total. He also found international success in countries like Canada and the UK.

Dan’s Relationships

Disco singer Patricia Majilisa says her relationship with Dan started when she with a group of girls she had befriended on arrival to another location called Dlamini, saw a band rehearsing their set and the guy playing drums caught her eye.  It turns out that it was Dan Tshanda. 

I expressed my desire to do music and he invited me to a rehearsal the following day.  It seemed music was not the only common denominator for the two musicians, for love was also on the cards.  Tshanda was only 17-years-old then and the two were soon an item and moved in together.

Soon they committed to each other in a traditional ceremony and decided to vacate their rented flat to purchase their own house in Windwood.

Patricia after having split from Dan, photo credit: southerneye.co.zew

But in 1991 something terrible happened that nearly ended not only Majalisa's music career but her life as well.

"I had gone back home in East London leaving Dan alone in the new house that had only a few items because we had agreed that we would buy everything upon my return, but I was surprised when Dan kept on sending money so I could stay longer but I finally came back because I missed him and found that he was dating fellow band member, the late Mmasentle Petronella Rampou," Majalisa explained her predicament to Showbiz.

Following the painful split Majalisa tried to take her life but was only saved by slain reggae giant Lucky Dube. 

Dan and patricia would be on and off after that, until Patricia decided to leave the record company Dan had signed her under and leave him for good. It was rumoured that Dan and Patricia never spoke after she left the record company, unless it was to perform with Splash. 

It would later be corrected by Patricia, that she was still friends with Dan after he remarried but their professional relationship was unfortunately never the same after.

Dan’s Controversy

For the last few of 2007, South African ace producer, Dan Tshanda, had been involved in a tug of war with former girlfriend, Bonno Seleke of Mochudi, over maintenance of the two children he fathered in the 90s. 

The year before in December, a magistrate court in Gaborone ruled in favour of Seleke after Tshanda was alleged to have questioned the paternity of those children. He claimed that it was not true that he had distanced himself from the children because he believed he was not the father.

After submitting to paternity testing, the paternity test proved that the Splash boss was indeed the father and he was ordered to maintain the children.

The Tshanda's out in Durban on vacation before Dan's death. photo credit: iol.co.za

Dan Passes

The Peacock hit-maker Dan Tshanda's family was supposed to be celebrating his first-born son Ndivhuwo passing matric. Instead, they are mourning Tshanda's death.

The 54-year-old died on Saturday after he suffered heart failure.

The death came as a surprise to his family as Tshanda was on his way to hospital for a check-up.

“He had gone to the hospital about three to four days ago, and had an X-ray done on his lungs and he received medication. He was not really sick, so it came as a surprise,” family spokesperson Moudy Modzielwana said.

The pioneer of the hugely popular bubblegum genre of the 1980s was rushed from his Bryanston home to Mediclinic Sandton where he died after 1pm due to heart failure.

His 18-year-old son received his matric results just a day before Tshanda lost his life. He is survived by his wife, Silvia, as well as three sons.

At Dan's funeral with his three sons and nephew, standing by his tombstone. Photo credit: sowetanlive.co.za

Dan’s Legacy

Dan Tshanda is a man who used to play his guitar at shopping malls and taxi ranks of South Africa to make ends meet. He could barely make enough money to get something to eat and never thought one day he would be living like a king, as one of Africa's most respected artists and producers.

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