Johannesburg - Hip-hop artist and former prisoner Molemo “Jub Jub” Maarohanye is not the same person.
Having served four years of his jail sentence after being released on parole earlier this year, he says life in prison has changed him, but he is slowly rebuilding his public image and reclaiming his musical talent.
The Ndikhokhele hitmaker told City Press he had been drowning his sorrows in the recording studio, doing what he loves most – making music.
He said he was feeling happier now, and even felt appreciated at times by society.
Maarohanye has kept a low profile since being paroled.
In 2012, he and his co-accused, Themba Tshabalala, were sentenced to 25 years in jail each for murder, attempted murder and three related offences after crashing their cars into a group of schoolboys in 2010, killing four of them and maiming two others.
In 2014, their murder conviction was overturned to culpable homicide and their sentence reduced to eight years. On January 5 this year, both were released on parole after spending four years behind bars.
The 37-year-old singer recently released a single, Shooting Star, in which he lauds local hip-hop musicians who have made it big, including AKA, Cassper Nyovest, OkMalumKoolkat and female rapper Nadia Nakai.
He told City Press that he appreciated their work even behind bars and that local music was doing well.
He said his aim was to motivate the upcoming generation of musicians to do their best and that he regarded every ghetto child as a shooting star.
This single is the follow-up to the track he released just hours after being paroled. Titled Ke Kopa Tswarelo (please forgive me), that song featured jazz legend Tsepo Tshola and was well received.
Maarohanye took City Press around the studio, showing us what he was working on and talking of how he spent most of his time making music. He said he was also busy “giving back to the community”.
“I give motivational talks at schools, but I also travel around to guide young people to be aware of the worldly things that may lead them to wrong places,” he said.
The Soweto-born star said he planned “to use my second chance in life to touch lives”, adding that he had learnt a lot from his time in prison and was ready to make a positive impact on people’s lives.
“All I speak about is my music, my career and what I have experienced,” said Maarohanye.
“Anyone who goes through hardships can look at me and say: ‘If Jub Jub can make it, I can make it too.’”
The rapper affirmed his faith in God.
“Prayer is what keeps me going, and my family gives me more support. I sometimes get very emotional when performing on stage, because many people still love me as Jub Jub,” he said.
The musician reaffirmed that he was very grateful for this second chance. “I am happy because I am not judged by my past and I have learnt from what I went through.”
Asked when his fans should expect his new album, he said it would drop in September.
The muso has been working with new talent and has promised his album will be a feelgood one.
His message to young people is to ensure they get educated and take good care of themselves.
“Education is very important because you can go places with it, whereas fame comes and goes.”