Bongeziwe Mabandla

26 year-old guitarist, singer/ songwriter Bongeziwe Mabandla is one of the 10 finalists of the 2011 RFI Discoveries Award and is soon releasing his debut album “UMLILO”, meaning fire : now is the time for Bongeziwe to set the Industry ablaze…

Bongeziwe was born in Tsolo, a rural part of the Eastern Cape, South Africa, where grew his early passion for art and music. He learnt the guitar at 17, matriculated from Lady Grey Arts Academy and studied drama at Johannesburg film school AFDA. As a student, he soon turned to music, started to write songs and to perform solo gigs, while developing his own unplugged music style and earning recognition as a musician.

Together with his band, he created a matchless afro-folk sound, fused with his soulful voice delivering in Xhosa, sometimes in English. Influenced by artists like Tracy Chapman and Lauryn Hill, as well as South African vocalists Simphiwe Dana and JABU KHANYILE and Zimbabwean guitarist Oliver Mtukudzi, his sound has a rhythmically grass-roots vibe, while fusing elements from traditional Xhosa music, Mbaqanga, Soul, Hip-Hop and Dub. Genuine and introspective, his music documents the experiences of human life and reflects his background and personal journey through self-discovery and awareness in post-apartheid South Africa. That is why a lot of people can relate to his music, Bongi says...