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Ntando still going strong after 19 years

Sama28 nominee busy in studio working on his 10th album

Ntando Bangani is set to dazzle music lovers at Sama28 at Sun City.
Ntando Bangani is set to dazzle music lovers at Sama28 at Sun City.
Image: Supplied

When Afro-pop/soul singer Ntando Bangani released his debut Kwantu in 2003, there was no guarantee how long he would last.

Nineteen years later Bangani, from Fort Beaufort (eBhofolo) in the Eastern Cape, is still going strong and even getting nominated for awards. His latest nomination is for the 28th edition of the SA Music Awards (Samas) that will be held at Sun City on Saturday. He is up against Nomfusi, The One Who Sings, Joe Nina and Mandisi Dyantyisi in the category of best African contemporary album. 

Bangani, a man who is proud of his heritage, cannot wait to unleash his Xhosa-influenced outfit on the red carpet. That is not all. The singer is also gearing himself up to mesmerise fans when he performs his two hits Le Moto Yam and Asambe Nono

“I am definitely looking forward to the Samas this year. It is exciting to be nominated and acknowledged for what you do. I never thought in my wildest dream that after 19 years I'd still be here singing and getting nominations. This means that I am still on the right track. At this stage of my career it brings a self-belief and lot of appreciation even to those who contributed to the artist that I am. There are people who have been part of this journey.”

After all these years in the industry, the 40-year-old singer and composer is still cherished. Though it has been a while since Bangani won an award, he still gets nominated whenever he drops an album. So far he has released nine albums with some sales reaching platinum and gold status. He was nominated in the last Samas in the Afro-pop category but he did not win. 

In terms of his music, Bangani says he is where he always wanted to be and he is content. As he looks forward to 20 years in the music industry he reflects on the lessons learnt. One of the biggest lessons was to appreciate his own talent and trusting himself. Bangani believes that everything he experienced in the music industry was part of his journey as an artist.

“If you could have asked me where I want to be in 20 years when I started, I would not have given you a proper answer. I truly appreciate where I am right now. I am where I am supposed to be. I am truly grateful and I have learned from my mistakes. It is exactly what it is and hopefully moving forward I will do much. I am grateful for this talent. I have realised that I am an individual and have learned to believe in what I do. Don’t be hesitant when it comes to your own craft.”

With the music industry experiencing a lot of changes like digitisation, Bangani is concerned about the future of music in general. Coming from an era of CDs and serious marketing, the Afro-pop singer has struggled to regain the stardom of his days at TS Records. When he dropped his debut album Kwantu in 2003, his music used to dominate the airwaves. 

“It worries me that most of my fans don’t get to listen or know about all my music. I noticed this whenever I am posting something on social media or some of the songs, they will be asking which album is this. To me it says they do not know about my music or it does not reach to them.

“I know things have changed over the years. It was easy earlier for people to know about my music. I noticed this when I became independent that there is a lot of hard work that goes into marketing and promotion.

“At TS Records they were good with marketing and promotions. Some of my fans who are old people still believe in hearing music on radio and buying a physical copy. Now everything is digital. I know I am not the only one who is worried about the industry.”

Apart from looking forward to Sama28, Bangani is busy in studio working on his 10th album.  

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