Khaya Mahlangu was born 1954 in Soweto, Johannesburg. Influenced by his father´s music collection of local and international artists, he played the bugle in the Boys Scouts and later picked up the trumpet under Phineas Molefe Phetho in a program for township youth run by Professor Khabi Mngoma. This was in 1971.
In 1972 he joined a high school band and later switched to Saxophone, which was given to him by an uncle, Monde Hashe. In 1975, he joined a band called Harari, led by another uncle, Selby Fikile Ntuli, a keyboard player. In 1976 he joined a resident band of the only nite club in Soweto, The Pelican.