Sipho "Hotstix" Mabuse was born in Johannesburg on 2 November 1951. After dropping out of school in the 1960s, Mabuse got his start in the African soul group the Beaters in the mid-1970s. After a successful tour of Zimbabwe they changed the group's name to Harari. When they returned to their homeland in South Africa they began to draw almost exclusively on American-style funk, soul, and pop music, sung in Zulu and Sotho as well as English. He has also recorded and produced for, amongst others, Miriam Makeba, Hugh Masekela, Ray Phiri and Sibongile Khumalo.
Mabuse is responsible for "Burn Out" in the early 1980s which sold over 500,000 copies, and the giant (Disco Shangaan) hit of the late 1980s, "Jive Soweto".
His daughter is the singer Mpho Skeef.
Mabuse returned to secondary school at the age of 60, completing his matric(grade 12) in 2012. He stated that he intended to continue on to college and study anthropology. President Jacob Zuma praised him for giving "inspiration to all of us by showing us that one is never too old for education".