TUMELO Ruele is one of those up-and-coming artists who have their feet firmly on the ground. He is understated, lacks celebrity arrogance and is willing to work hard to get where he wants to be.
The 27-year-old Yfm producer lives in Rosebank, but returns home weekly to Sebokeng, south of Johannesburg, where he sings at church.
"I have always been grounded, I am not fazed by cameras and lights. But I have come through and that will show in my music," he says.
Ruele's debut solo album, Arise and Shine, will be released in August by Soulistic Music, with productions by stablemates Black Coffee and Culoe de Song.
And promising diversity, his debut album features gospel artist Deborah Fraser and popular Show Dem singer and rapper JR.
"I come from a hip-hop background, but this is a collection of content that will also give people joy, upliftment and it will be sensual."
We got this "salt of the earth" kind of guy to try out the essential everyday condiment that has emerged in various shapes and sizes.
The first was one Ruele says "everyone has at home" - Cerebos Iodated Table Salt.
The sachet is indeed a familiar one, with the iconic image of a young boy chasing a chicken with salt in his hands and the payoff line "see how it runs".
Iodised salt is table salt that has been mixed with small amounts of salts which have iodine in them. This is a method of preventing iodine deficiencies that cause a range of illnesses, including hyperthyroidism, and used since the early 1900s.
Table salt is generally mined.
"This is everyday, familiar salt," he says after a taste test. "It works. I would put it on eggs," Ruele adds.
Next up was a slightly "fancier" type of salt, Maldon's Sea Salt Flakes.
"Pure and natural", it is approved by the Organic Food Federation as it has no additives. Sea salt, which is sourced directly from the ocean, is considered healthier and more flavourful than traditional salt. It is less refined, and would possibly have traces of other minerals like magnesium, calcium, iron, potassium - and the all-important iodine.
Maldon's flakes are light and feel like pieces of glass, but are easily crushable.
Without looking at the packaging, Ruele says: "This tastes like sea water. It is very, very strong."
Ruele finds the "rough texture" unusual but says the salt is a good choice for certain foods. "I would use it on heavier food, like meat, especially for potjies."
He was surprised by Lior's unassuming Dry Sea Salt.
"It is great, very light, lighter than Cerebos' fine salt. I think it might be a healthier option," he says.
Kosher salt is of a larger grain than most salts and usually does not contain iodine.
Ruele then tastes SAXA, South Africa's Own Iodated Sea Salt.
He cleverly notes: "It tastes like Cerebos."
The product is indeed made by the traditional salt company, and appears to be repackaged.
The final product is Woolworths Food's Premium Atlantic Ocean Sea Salt. It looks like the bath variety in its beautiful curved bottle with self-grinder attached.
Ruele says: "I love the taste and the packaging, which looks like it can be reused. It is not too strong and the texture is good for everything.
"Normally people just use salt, without thinking about it. It makes a big difference and I think the different types can change the way food tastes. I would buy this one." - Shanthini Naidoo