Bongeziwe Mabandla's global fame keeps rising despite pandemic

South African singer and songwriter Bongeziwe Mabandla
South African singer and songwriter Bongeziwe Mabandla
Image: Lidudumalingani Mqombothi

Singer Bongeziwe Mabandla continues to wow the global market during the Covid-19 lockdown - all from the comfort of his home.

Mabandla featured on popular digital music platform Colors - focused on spotlighting distinctive artists with original sounds in the world - on Tuesday night.

His performance was part of the Home/Bred series that Colors has been staging every Tuesday. Colors is the same platform where Sho Madjozi debuted her smash hit John Cena last year.

"For this specific performance we ran a couple of tests to see how it will look and sound. It is not the easiest thing to set up because of the light and noise from the street, but with many attempts we got it right," Mabandla says.

His performance streamed from his home in Newton, Johannesburg, in the same spot that he shot the artwork for his new album Iimini. Mabandla performed songs from the new record including Isiphelo, Khangela and Zange.

"I'm hoping that the performance leads to more people knowing about my music abroad and here in South Africa," Mabandla says.

"I have been exchanging a lot with my audience during the lockdown and it was great to give them another live performance during this time.

"For my international fans who bought tickets to my shows all over Europe it was an opportunity to give them something until we get the chance to be in the same room again, hopefully towards the end of the year."

He released his third album on March 27 - the first day of the national lockdown - and it shot to number one across all genres on iTunes SA. It also charted high in Botswana, France, Switzerland, Austria, the Netherlands and US.

"...with all my live dates cancelled, I think people felt connected to the music during this period," Mabandla says.

"What I have done on top of that is making content from home to have that personal connection online. It's a moment to learn new things and I have learnt so much already about making videos at home. It has become a lot of fun."

His song Philakanzima from his second album Mangaliso is featured on the soundtrack for the international TV series Noughts + Crosses.

"I'm so honoured to be part of this series, especially as the message [of the show] is about black empowerment.

"I started off in film so it is always such an acknowledgment to have my music as part of a visual story."

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