Introducing Bongeziwe Mabandla


Reimagining His Heritage

Bongeziwe Mabandla is a musician amongst an array of talented South African artists who innovate music by fusing South African traditional and folk styles with popular western styles of music. Amongst these creative musicians, he is also paving the future of modern South African music by defining this period of culture that sees South African artists’ desire to hold onto heritage while inventing their new voices and sounds.

 Mabandla was born in the rural town, Tsolo, in the Eastern Cape and from a young age he had an immediate interest in the arts. He eventually went on to study drama at AFDA. During this time he started writing and performing music. His acoustic solo style developed into a full band. He currently performs with Tiago Correia Paulo (340ml) on guitar and synth, and Mike Wright (Zebra & Giraffe) on drums.

Mabandla’s debut full-length album, Umlilo, took Mabandla to new heights when its critical acclaim and warm reception brought him to tour Australia, Europe and USA in 2014, leading to great exposure on a global level and a bright future.

His music shows influence from South African artists such as Vusi Mahlasela and Oliver Mtukudzi by fusing South African folk with contemporary songwriting that creates a space for himself to blend traditional and western sounds uniquely and with modern arrangements. Mabandla sings his lyrics predominantly in Xhosa while occasionally adding English. The language barrier is noted for those who do not speak Xhosa. But nonetheless the beauty and sincerity of his musical delivery makes it easy to engage with and listen to.

‘Ndokulandela’ is the first single from his latest album, Mangaliso. Ndokulandela translates to “I will follow you”. The song is a brilliant blend of soulful guitar and orchestral drums that eventually flows into a groovy afro-fusion driven chorus reminiscent of artists like Jabu Khanile and Stimela except with a more modern and indie inspired aesthetic.

The tracks accompanying video was directed by Ian Henderson and produced by Mabandla’s label, Black Major. It features members of the Makukhanye dance group based in Khayelitsha led by Yolanda Fyrus.

Watch the video for ‘Ndokulandela’ below.



About Author

Saul Nossel is a musician and producer based on Johannesburg, South Africa. He is a 2017 Wits HonMusic Graduate. Saul performs and writes music in the bands, Go Barefoot and Josh Kempen while producing and teaching music.