Claire Doyen
2 minute read
20 Nov 2021
10:30 am

Bongeziwe Mabandla singing the ‘Zulu blues’ of love

Claire Doyen

He cites among his influences American artists Tracy Chapman and Lauryn Hill, as well as the Zulu singer Busi Mhlongo – a pioneer of modern interpretations of the maskandi sound.

Bongeziwe Mabandla cuts a striking figure: a muscular folk musician with his trousers rolled up above his ankles, there is still something of the little boy who grew up in the hills of the Eastern Cape. Nominated for a South African Music Award in 2018, Mabandla has grown hugely popular and has performed atconcerts and festivals overseas. He cut his latest album during the height of the pandemic, drawing on the heritage of maskandi, the musical tradition of migrant workers. During apartheid, trains crossed South Africa carrying workers in livestock cars to labour on the gold and coalmines. Others walked...