Ringo is no stranger to reality talent shows: he won the Shell Road to Fame with his band Peto all the way back in 1986, and his son Phila made the Idols SA Top 16 in season 11!
His career took a huge turn after a chance encounter with renowned producer and head of Island Records, Chris Blackwell. "Blackwell chided me for not sticking to what I know best – my people, my language and my culture," Madlingozi said. "It was as if a bright light had been turned on in my mind and this led directly to the recording of my debut album, Vukani."
Literally meaning "Wake Up", the album firmly rooted Madlingozi in the Afropop genre, while the addition of a contemporary sound whilst still being grounded in the tradition of the Xhosa guitar cemented what has now become known as the "Ringo" sound.
Counting the likes of Vusi Nova as massive admirers, he is the recipient of multiple South African Music Awards (SAMAs) and Kora Awards, including the Best Male Artist in Southern Africa and the African continent Awards. He’s also collaborated with international acclaimed group UB40 as part of the United Nations Global AIDS awareness program, recording the Xhosa lyrics of "Cover Up".
As well as being a member of parliament for the EFF, he’s a philanthropist of note. For the past few years Madlingozi has been working with, or assisting in, the Takalani Home for the Disabled in Soweto, the Sinethemba Home in Benoni, the Van Rijn Place of Safety in Benoni, Siyazigabisa Home of Hope in Tembisa and in Gqeberha, and Enkuselweni Place of Safety, where he works with the youth to motivate them and gives gthem financial assistance.
At Van Rijn he has been doing the same, as well as assisting the kids with music training. Together with Sindi Dlathu of Muvhango fame, they also coached the kids in dance. He has also assisted collecting clothes for and giving Christmas gifts to their children.
In Durban, together with Nkosi Ngubane, he started the Adopt a Child Project, where a person supports an orphaned infant. He was recently given ambassadorship for HIV/AIDS and Anti-Women and Child Abuse Campaign by the Gauteng Department of Social Welfare, and he has worked with Khuluma Ndoda, an anti-women abuse movement started by actor Patrick Shai.
At Sinethemba, he plays more of a parental role to the kids. He guides and motivates the kids – a perfect Idols mentor then!
Season 17 of Idols SA broadcasts on Sundays at 17:30 on Mzansi Magic Channel 161, and at 17:00 from the live shows. Get exclusive updates and a behind the scenes look at all the action right here on our site. Don't forget to join the conversation by following us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram using the hashtag #IdolsSA.