Nico Carstens was at the forefront of the jazz-inspired South African musical tradition of Boeremusiek, subsequently renamed Afrikwela. Known in his homeland as the Boeremusiek King, Carstens and his group, the Boire Qanga Band, attracted international attention when they performed the Boeremusiek-mbaqanga song "Viva Madibe," by former jazz restauranteur Henry Shields and Morris Goldberg, at President Nelson Mandela's inauguration gala. Carstens' earliest success came in 1963 when he co-wrote the song "Strike It Rich" with Anton De Waal. His compositions were subsequently covered by Acker Bilk, Bert Kaempfert, the Shadows, James Last, Chet Atkins, and Floyd Cramer. Carstens also recorded with the Springbok Nude Girls.