How Papa Penny made it to the top

Papa Penny’s reality show has turned him into a national legend, but it’s taken 25 years of hard work to get where he is today.

You might be forgiven for thinking you’re watching an episode of Papa Penny Ahee when you’re actually tuned into Isibaya. Yes! Papa Penny made an appearance on the popular Mzansi Magic telenovela and fans loved it. On his reality show, Papa Penny commented that his wife, Mama Nomi, loves watching Isibaya and bravely said he could do a better job than the actual actors. Obviously, the producers of Isibaya were watching, because he was invited to make a cameo appearance and prove to Mama Nomi that he can actually act.

Watch Papa Penny Ahee! S3 on DStv Now »

In a recent interview with The Star, he opened up about his childhood and the odd jobs he took on before getting his big break in the music industry. From being a farm worker to digging for gold in the mines to being South Africa’s “first” break-dancer, Papa Penny’s story is one of hard work, perseverance, ingenuity and never forgetting where you come from. Along the way, he learned to stand up for himself and those around him.

“Those days were very difficult times,” he told The Star, “not only because of our working conditions but also because we were fighting for freedom. I was a wanted man for many of my political activities, but I was not deterred by that because we knew that one day we would reclaim the country.” He endured further tough times in the mid-2000s, when his popularity seemed to dwindle, but all that ended when he was chosen as choirmaster on Mzansi Magic’s version of Clash of the Choirs. It was a gig that made him top of mind with audiences once again, and led to the idea of his own show, Papa Penny Ahee.

As a proud resident of Giyani in Limpopo, he’s all about community empowerment and ensuring that the rural areas aren’t forgotten when it comes to the delivery of public services like clean running water. This musician-turned-reality-TV-star-turned-actor wears many hats and shows no signs of slowing down.

Watch Papa Penny Ahee S3 on Wednesdays on Mzansi Magic (161) at 20:00
Available on Catch Up and to stream online at DStv Now »