- Title: Going solo: South Africa's Bongeziwe Mabandla releases "lockdown album"
- Date: 10th July 2020
- Summary: JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA (RECENT) (REUTERS) (SOUNDBITE) (English) MUSICIAN, BONGEZIWE MABANDLA, SAYING: "I've also just learnt a lot about making videos from home, interacting with fans differently, shooting my own videos I've become a director, production designer, soundman."
- Embargoed: 24th July 2020 11:40
- Keywords: COVID-19 pandemic Khangela South African singer and songwriter Zange making music videos studio album
- Location: JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA
- City: JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA
- Country: South Africa
- Topics: Arts / Culture / Entertainment,Music
- Reuters ID: LVA00BCM85V13
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: Having spent more than a year working on his third studio album, South African singer and songwriter Bongeziwe Mabandla had hoped to spend 2020 busily promoting the record.
Its love-themed songs are a fusion of African folk and electronic music.
'Zange' was the first single released from the album.
"Zange is a Xhosa word which means never, never before. It's a song about how love changes you and makes you a different person. In this song, I really wanted to capture that feeling you get when you first fall in love, maybe it's in high school," Bongeziwe said.
In an interview with Reuters at his home in Johannesburg, Bongeziwe said he had been prepared to be away from home for a couple of months.
"I was about to go on tour and we were getting ready for the release and a few days we just realised it's not going to happen. When the lockdown happened, personally i thought definitely they are going to cancel the lockdown two weeks later and everything would go back to normal. I really didn't think it would take that long. We were going to launch the album here in South Africa, Mozambique and we were going to do a lot of promotional performances in Europe, France specifically where we work a lot," he said.
The album is titled 'iimini' which is a Xhosa word that means days. Bongeziwe describes it as a story of the days one spends finding love, being in love and losing that love.
"I think my music is definitely music about the human heart condition, i think my music is about making sense of this difficult life and it is about evolving and trying to find freedom and happiness and love and i think a lot of people can relate to those things," Bongeziwe continued.
'Khangela' is an emotive and self-reflective song about the highs and lows of relationships.
"Khangela is a song I would say a lot of people have related with on this album and Khangela is a Xhosa word meaning searching for or looking for. This song I really wrote it about my loneliness and the desire for love and I think so many people can relate to those feelings. It's just a simple song, about the regrets and things that I have done in that search and it really explores a lot of the mistakes that have happened while searching for love. Sometimes when you are loving for love, it's easy to look for it in the wrong places," Bongeziwe said.
The artist, who performed at the 2019 World Music Expo - WOMEX in Finland, said he had a discussion with his team on possibly delaying the release of the album due to the lockdown. He is happy that they decided to go ahead.
"A lot of the people got to hear the album really well because a lot of people where stuck at home. It became a very interesting way of promoting my album that I have never done, promoting from home, doing videos from home and interacting on social media for the first time," Bongeziwe added.
Since the release of the album, Bongeziwe has been busy promoting it from home, which includes conducting a wide range of radio and television interviews from both local and foreign media.
He has also kept busy performing for his fans on social media platforms such as YouTube and has been featured on the Colors Studio's "Home Bred" sessions and BillBoard's Live-At-Home.
The solo gigs have forced him to learn new skills.
"I've also just learnt a lot about making videos from home, interacting with fans differently, shooting my own videos I've become a director, production designer, soundman," he said.
Bongeziwe grew up in Tsolo, in the country's Eastern Cape. He then moved to Johannesburg where he initially studied theatre before focusing on music.
"I've really had a great appreciation of life, about being a musician which maybe I didn't really necessarily have before the lockdown. I miss performing, so I'm definitely going to look at live shows with a different appreciation," he said.
(Taurai Maduna, Okwi Okoh)
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