The energetic, reserved member of Trompies, Jairus Ditshotlo Nkwe was born in Meadowlands, Soweto. He is popularly known as Jakarumba, a name he acquired when he joined Trompies.
Jairus 's love of music started from a very young age. It was his love for dancing that finally catapulted him into the entertainment industry. During his school days, he would participate in Pantsula dance competitions which he regularly won. He also danced at stokvels, weddings and social gatherings to earn himself some pocket money. His parents always reminded him of the importance and benefits of education. He therefore partook in entertainment activities on a part-time basis wishing not to disappoint his parents. Like all other parents, they just wanted the best for their child.
After matric, Jairus worked as a technician for Canon and Panasonic. The flow of entertainment still ran in his veins. He continued with dancing and music part-time after work. After work, he would go to the studio in Mooi Street in the centre of Johanessburg, and mix with other upcoming entertainers in composing songs and playing around with beats.
At the age of 19, he was approached by one of the fathers of South African music, Sello "Chicco" Twala to be a choreographer in his music videos. He and his future Trompies band mate, Mandla "Spikiri" Mofokeng, became regular dance features in Chicco 's live performances. He admired Chicco' s work ethic and was inspired to be like him - to compose, sing and produce his own music.
Prior to the establishment of Trompies, Jairus did back-up vocals for and toured with his brother-in-law, Mduduzi "Mdu" Masilela. They also worked together in the studio on some compositions . Jairus has composed songs for MaWillies , Alaska, Baby G and Tsekeleke. One day he was working with Senyaka and Kamazu in the studio when they encouraged him to start producing work for himself. Up to that stage, he preferred mainly working behind the scenes. He had produced hits for other people. Senyaka and Kamazu believed he could produce the same magic for his own career. They helped him to overcome his reluctance to perform on stage; and he thereafter transformed into the entertainer he is today.
The birth of Trompies occurred in 1994. Trompies was. It was made up of Jairus "Jakarumba" Nkwe, Zane "Mahoota" Sibika, Mandla "Spikiri" Mofokeng, Eugene "Donald Duck" Mthethwa and Emanuel "MJokes" Matsane. All these gentlemen grew up around each other and spent free time together experimenting with sound and composition.
Trompies cemented their comradery through their brotherhood and love for music. They revolutionised the sound and rhythm of Kwaito. They established a recording company, Jazmee, which was made up of the first letters of each Trompies member. All members contributed to writing, composing and producing the group's songs. Trompies has released up to 16 albums to date.
Jazmee later joined forces with another recording company called Kalawa under the leadership of Oskido, Don Laka and Bruce "Dope" Sebitlo. The combination became a highly successful unit, Kalawa Jazmee which entertained South Africans with unique Afro and South African beats. Alaska, Mafikizolo, Uhuru, Bongo Maffin, Brothers of Peace, Trompies, Alaska, Professor, Boom Shaka are the successful products of the recording stable.
Trompies albums reached triple platinum status. When they worked in the studio, they referred themselves as Dangerous Combination Crew because they focused on their work and ensured they delivered hit after hit. The members also pursued solo projects in which they were equally successful. They wish to reassure their fans that Trompies is still alive and they still work together.
Jairus is a father of 4 children. As a father, he encourages young people to make education a priority that can help them to improve and upgrade their lives. He advises that today's lifestyle is highly challenging and extremely competitive . Education gives a person an edge to walk through any door in search for opportunities. Jairus states that his artistic talent contributed to him in improving his life and earning a living for his family. However, with today's challenges a person needs much more than talent.
For young people wishing to pursue a career in entertainment, Jairus points out that young talent must educate themselves about the industry as much possible. They must understand both the technical and business sides. Jairus attended piano classes which were taught by Mahoota. This helped improve his songwriting abilities. He further enrolled in advanced piano classes in Randburg.
Jairus further points out to upcoming talent that the business side of entertainment can be filled with hyenas disguised as lambs. These individuals value talent when it is at its peak. And then discard the same talent when its value no longer serves their purpose. Young people must educate themselves on the tunnels, caves and inticrate details of the contracts and agreements they sign. A contract can easily become empowerment and growth or enslavement and exploitation.
As a result of technology, people are no longer buying music therefore an artist needs to be innovative to extend and grow their brand. He established Jakarumba Project and Entertainment as an extension of his brand.
One will be surprised to know that as much as he is a crackfire and explosion on stage, he is relatively reserved and reclusively guarded in his private life . He owes much of his stability to Senyaka who was able to ground him and channel his talent as an upcoming performer. Jairus is a regular churchgoer. It helps him to focus and build discipline which in turn, rubs off into his professional life.
Jairus has grown into a multi-faceted over the years. He acts, sings, dances, choreographes, composes, produces and is a performer of note. He has appeared in Moruti wa Tsotsi and Tjovitjo on SABC 1. He has appeared in some commercials. He is part of Soweto Revival (SRV), an artist movement that revives Soweto and popular South African music personalities from Soweto. He is also part of Dlala Mapantsula, an entertainment project that stages live Kwaito acts.
His personal motto is LOVE, PEACE and HAPPINESS. It's a motto he shares with the audience at live performances. His advice is (1) be humble, (2) be respectful and considerate of others, (3) motho ke motho ka batho ba bangwe - we create and are part of humanity through others, (4) never lose focus, (5) be steadfast in hard work, and (6) use the talent and creativity God has blessed you with
People often ask Jairus on when will he make a comeback. He always says he has never been away. Sometimes he is involved in solo and Trompies gigs outside South Africa. Namibia and Zambia are countries he has fond memories of. Under Trompies they have toured as far as USA, UK and other parts of the African continent. In July 2018 Jairus will be releasing his third studio act , Fresh for Life. His two previous solo releases are Problem Child and Dance Floor Commander.
Jairus expresses love and admiration for South African music. He says Kwaito is still alive. It is a South African product that should be preserved. It makes him and his counterparts smile when upcoming artists mix classic Kwaito beats into their contemporary compositions.