Lists, The Booth

The Booth: Bongeziwe Mabandla Divulges His Treasured Tunes

Bongeziwe Mabandla Booth Original Image by Kent Andreasen

In 2012, Bongeziwe Mabandla released his debut album, Umlilo, which saw him effortlessly combine traditional Xhosa music with contemporary folk styling to create a sound of his own. In the five years that have passed, he has amplified his already considerable gifts with tours to Australia, Asia and Canada, while making appearances at several international and national festivals. His approach to songwriting adds elements of spirituality and future-centric creativity to his unique musical mix.

All of this culminated in his second album, Mangaliso – his first album with Universal Music. ‘Ndokulandela’, a hypnotic song that showcases Mabandla’s meditative, yet powerful voice, was the first to receive a visual treatment, with a spiritual and futuristic video to match the themes of the song.

We investigated Mangaliso around the time of its release, which was produced by Tiago Correia Paulo (of Tumi and the Volume and 340ml) who also features alongside Mike Wright (of Zebra & Giraffe) in the live band that has been touring with Mabandla this year. They’ll be up to all sorts of good at OppiKoppi on Thursday 5 October and at Rocking The Daisies on Friday 6 October.


Each month we invite a South African musician to join us in The Booth to see what they’re bumping, to get a sense of where the magic (partly) comes from. With Rocking The Daisies and OppiKoppi almost upon us, we decided to invite a handful of musicians who will be performing at the respective festivals to join us for a special festival edition of The Booth, where we will feature one artist each day leading up to festival weekend.

This edition investigates Bongeziwe Mabandla’s playlist, sharing 5 tracks that he’s into, in no particular order:

Childish Gambino – ‘Redbone’

I love this song, it’s everything good about modern music. The vocal is insane, I usually listen to it with my cousin when we clean.

Sun-EL Musician feat. Samthing Soweto – ‘Akanamali’

My song of the year. Too beautiful… beautiful narrative. Great vocals. Samthing Soweto can do no wrong, so excited for him. December song.

Erykah Badu feat. Andre 3000 – ‘Hello’

My friend put me on to this. Too beautiful, I wish I could be this cool. Total Wokeness!

Okzharp & Manthe Ribane – ‘Dear Ribane’

One of my new favorite artists. I think she’s so fresh, an artist that we need in South Africa. It helps that she is Joburg’s coolest girl!

Bongeziwe Mabandla – ‘Ndokulandela’

Not because it’s my song – I just think it’s well produced and a very creative approach to Xhosa folk.


Watch Bongeziwe Mabandla’s recent performance of ‘Ndibuyile’ at Popsicle Studios below, and check out our second #FestivalBooth feature, Alice Phoebe Lou here.

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