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By Bonginkosi Tiwane

Digital Journalist

‘It was a black story rather than a political one’- iPhupho L’ka Biko on performing at EFF rally

The group's Nhlanhla Ngqaqu praised Malema and said the rally was historic.

The EFF’s 10th anniversary rally this past weekend received mixed reactions, but for music ensemble iPhupho L’ka Biko it was a coming of age.

Throngs of EFF supporters packed the FNB stadium in Johannesburg to celebrate the party’s milestone. They were addressed by party leaders and entertained by musicians, including Black Motion, Ihashi Elimhlophe, Spikiri and Mlindo The Vocalist.

iPhupho L’ka Biko, a band of 13 members founded in 2015, was one of the performers on the day.

“It was such a nice thing for us. We’ve never performed in a stadium before and to perform in the biggest stadium in Africa is amazing,” Nhlanhla Ngqaqu, founder of the band told The Citizen.

“We were one of the last performers. We got on stage before Ami Faku and you know how festivals are, they’re touch and go-we only had about 15 minutes on stage to perform two songs. It’s elders like Thomas Chauke and Ihashi Elimhlophe who had ample time on stage,” Ngqaqu says.

iPhupho L’ka Biko was confirmed as performers just a few days before the actual event on Saturday, but the conversation about their appearance began long before.

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Part of history

While Elon Musk sparked debate on Twitter for calling out President Cyril Ramaphosa to address Julius Malema‘s chanting of “Kill the Boer, Kill the Farmer” at the event, Ngqaqu praised Malema and said the rally was historic.

“History was made that day. It was a black story rather than a political story”.

“Julius has struggled. As the world we saw how he was expelled from the ANC-he fell and rose up. It’s inspirational to us as black people. Cassper Nyovest did it with Fill Up, the Podcast and Chill guys also did it. What Julius did is not different, it was good to witness.”

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With a name like iPhupho L’ka Biko, which means “Biko’s dream” when translated, the group can be seen as being a political outfit rather than musical.

Artists who perform at political events are often accused of being a party’s mouthpiece, but Ngqaqu said the group was “non-partisan”.

“We support Biko’s idea of black solidarity. Tomorrow we could be performing at a rally of the ANC or the PAC, if we get booked.”

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iPhupho’s growth

The band has been active for nearly a decade, but in those years they’ve been on the ground performing their music on various platforms. Their song UThixo Ukhona is a hit, even sang by those who do not know the band.

iPhupho L’ka Biko released an EP last month and the band has been promoting their new work in different parts of the country.

“The reception has been overwhelming. The numbers are reflecting this,” says Ngqaqu.

It was the third best Jazz album in the country on Apple music for a while but the project remains in the top 10 jazz albums in the country.

“We released the EP because we knew that there were people who wanted to hear the music.”

Ngqaqu said the group will most likely start recording their album this year, for a 2024 release.

Just in time for the elections.

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