Selaelo Selota is unapologetic about his home lingo and music

Selaelo Selota onstage.
Selaelo Selota onstage.
Image: Veli Nhlapo/Sowetan

Musician Selaelo Selota is part of the #ProudlyLimpopian club‚ having got his inspiration from traditional elements he hopes will live on in the youth he teaches.

Still Ntate Selota is all about breaking boundaries.

“I realised that in order for me to amplify my message and identity in my music‚ it was only going to happen if I stuck to my mother tongue. It isn’t because I don’t like other languages but it is because I knew that if I really want to express my inner feelings‚ a foreign language wouldn’t do my gift justice‚” he told TshisaLIVE.

The iconic guitarist is well aware that his kind of music is reserved for certain shows and‚ when compared to the “popular” music of today‚ gets next to no radio play at all. Still he is unapologetically himself. 

He said watching his people live‚ dance and enjoy life inspired most of his songs and he hoped that through his music some heritage would be protected.

“I hope that my music will be archived and made available for generations to come so they can learn from the way the core of my identity comes through in every song. The rhythm in the Pedi people’s dinaka dance (a traditional dance) for example is something that so unique to my home. If you look at how they support the rhythm of the drums with their dance‚ you will be amazed.”

My music sounds like home.

Selota studied music in varsity and said he hoped to do doctoral studies in music so he can preserve his music. He plans on taking a different approach with this study‚ making music the medium of communication because “somethings just can’t be explained‚ people need to experience it themselves“.

He will put it in a research paper that looks at the traditional jazz from South Africa and is 80% audio and 20% writing. Selota said the paper will tell the story of music that fights to live on no matter how much it is “wished away“.

“My music sounds like home. My culture is beautiful and when it meets music‚ something magical happens. It is a gift that comes with embracing your root. You enter a space whereby it is beyond self‚ the music takes over and when the mind automatically understands it‚ it gives off a very rare experience.”

We can’t wait!

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