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Arts Corner: Bongani Bambata Nkwanyana

Bongani Nkwanyana & Friends is a 12 piece versatile band performs live in International Festivals, Concerts, Corporate events, Clubs, etc.

However, the band can be reduced to 7 piece and still maintain the quality of Bongani Nkwanyana’s sound i.e. (Afro-Jazz Maskandi).

Bongani Nkwanyana and his music

The composer, producer, mas’kandi guitarist, script writer/director Bongani Nkwanyana, professionally launched his music career in 1985,

He was invited to join a local band after winning Informal Maskandi Competition, judged by spectators and celebrated as the youngest and the most promising Maskandi Lion.

He believes that music is an artistic expression to be shared by humankind from all walks of life and a unifier of diverse cultures and nationalities.

Bongani Nkwanyana’s music  style

Nkwanyana’s music is a fusion of Traditional Zulu (Maskandi) and Amahubo (Folk Music) with modern Afro Jazz influence, which puts his Maskandi Music in a world class music circle and makes it completely unique.

Some of Nkwanyana’s melodies cover even those that were sung by The Great Princess Magogo ka Dinuzulu, who is mother to iNkosi (Chief) Mangosuthu Gatsha Buthelezi.

Live Performance

Nkwanyana’s live performance features 3 energetic traditional dancers skilled in different traditional dance categories i.e. Umzansi, Shameni, Bhaca, isiChunu, etc,

Full backing Band i.e. Drums, Bass guitar, Acoustic guitar, Jazz guitar, Keyboards, Saxophone and 3 backing vocals.

Theatre Experience

Nkwanyana wrote and directed the most popular musical play entitled “It’s my Life”

“It’s my life” is a musical play, basically about a young girl, who grew up in rural areas of KwaZuluNatal, South Africa, where she obtained her Senior Certificate and proceeded to the City of Johannesburg to further her tertiary Education.

However, leaving her life away from her parents was a disaster, where she started making more cash by selling her body.  

She ended up got infected with HIV and AIDS, which led to different kinds of sicknesses and shut down all her dreams to become world model.

History and Collaborations

Bongani Nkwanyana (The Band Leader) is the first Maskandi musician to win a national music competition known as The Shell Road to Fame in 1988

Nkwanyana was privileged to meet and learn from top Maskandi musicians, whom some of them are pioneers of maskandi music, such as Phuzushukela John Bhengu, Thintameva Msomi, Moto Khukwayo, Manqamu Gumede, Fezela Ntanzi, Inkun’emdaka, Ntamoyenkunzi Mchunu, Hhamela France Msomi, Magezela, Philemon Zulu and many others.

He further associated himself with the likes of Steve Faartar of The Flames, Madala Kunene of Zanuse, Sipho Mchunu & Johny Clegg of Juluka, people who advised him that masikandi music could be fused with other music influences.

When he moved to Johannesburg, he was privileged to work with prominent jazz musicians such as Hugh Masekela, Miriam Makeba, Jabu Khanyile, Bheki Khoza, Lulu Gontsana, Gloria Bosman, Suthukazi Arosi and others, who could also understand both jazz and maskandi music properly.

Nkwanyana is in a mission to free maskandi from the chains of inferiority and gain its recognition as world classic music.  

He is the founder of the most popular and most selling bands such as Bambata, Nu World, Abafana Abalungile, The Scorers, Inqaba yeMbube, Maronza and recently Shosholoza, to mention the few.

Working with top producers such as Jabu Khanyile, Hugh Masekela, Bheki Khoza, Duma Ndlovu, Chico Twala, Mthandeni Mvelase, Dumisani Dlamini, and others has gained Nkwanyana most experience both as a singer and a producer.

Collaborating with World acclaimed musicians such as Jabu Khanyile, Phuzekhemisi, Thandiswa Mazwayi, Rude-Boy Paul, Tiny Motha and others, enabled Nkwanyana to record “The Rebellion Concert” Live @ Newtown Hall (former “Mega Music”) currently known as Baseline, which is available on VHS, DVD and CD.

The Solidarity For Ever recorded live at COSATU’s 8th National Congress, Gallagher Estate afforded Nkwanyana an opportunity to perform at the presence of South Africa former President Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela where he shared stage with the likes of Bra Hugh Masekela, Chico Twala, Letta Mbulu, Sibongile Khumalo, Busi Mhlongo, and many other great musicians.

Locally, Bongani Nkwanyana has performed at Kippies Jazz International Club, Hugh Masikela’s J&B Junction, Johannesburg Civic Theatre, and Kilimanjaro, to mention just the few.

Internationally, he has performed at Africa Festival in Germany, Africa Festival in Spain.

He was invited to perform at The Union Building, in Pretoria, currently known as Tshwane, on the 27th April 2004 “Freedom Day” at the President Thabo Mbeki Presidential Inauguration, where he was privileged to perform in front of the whole World Government leaders that were honouring the event.

He was also invited to perform at the COSATU May Day event, in Bloemfontein, on the 1st of May 2004.

In September 2004, Nkwanyana released his 3rd Bambata CD called Abashokobezi (1906-2006) sequel to the 2nd CD entitled Ukhandampondo(Poll-Tax) and the 1st CD entitled 1906.

Nkwanyana initiated Bambata Project in honour of iNkosi (Chief) Bhambatha Zondi who vehemently fought against colonialism and imperialism at the beginning of the 20th Century.

However, he (Bhambatha Zondi) was eventually apprehended and beheaded by British Soldiers in 1906  

Nkwanyana has received a total of 7 South African Music Awards (SAMA) nominations thus far.

Nkwanyana was invited to perform at the Reconciliation Day on the 16th December 2004, staged at Mary Fitzgerald Square, Newtown, Johannesburg and Polokwane.

He was unanimously elected a chairperson of the Inner City Arts and Culture Forum, in Region Eight, representing up and coming artists in Gauteng Province.

The organization is a collaborative platform for up and coming artists, where they share their common knowledge through debates, workshops, performances, etc

Nkwanyana established Kora Records, a record label with which he aims to assist and empower up and coming artists, as well as artists with latent talents.

Kora Records has recorded and released most popular artists such as Ekuphakameni, Calvary Gospel Group and Shosholoza.

In November 2006, he signed with Chissa Entertainment Group (Record Company) and release his new CD “solo project” entitled YASH’INKANI, end of May 2007.

Yash’inkani (Perseverance)

Long walk to recognition (1985 to 2010)

Yash’ inkani is Nkwanyana’s distinctive project where for the first time maskandi music is properly blended with horns, Afro-Jazz-sounds and other solo instruments featuring interludes and cross-over sounds.

The music is basically traditional Zulu maskandi music fused with different music influences such as Afro Jazz, Soul, Marabi, Mbhaqanga, Kwaaito, etc

Yash’inkani “Perseverance” (Tribute to iNkosi (Chief) Bhambatha) is a call for all Africans to free themselves from colonial and mental slavery, and open a new page for self-consciousness, peace, reconciliation, unity, pride and identity.

In such solo project, Nkwanyana is working with a team of World acclaimed musicians i.e.

Musician / Artist Performance / Task
Bheki “Mfundisi” Khoza Producer
Deen “DinZulu” Gillan Sound Engineer
Kwazi Shange Drums
Tlale Makhene Percussions
Mandla Zikalala Bass:
Lindelani Mathonsi Keyboards
Zamo Mbutho, Ayanda Zulu, Noxolo Radebe, Jabu Mavundla Backing Vocals
Bez Roberts, Sydney Mnisi & Mzamo Bhengu Horn Sections
Bra Hugh Masekela (Horns)

Noxolo Radebe (Female lead vocal)

Gift Dlamini (Rap)  

Featured Musicians

MAVILOS Chats Music & Africa

I was first introduced to house music maker, MAVILOS after he dropped the “O Motsere Kae” video mid January. I was inspired by his energy and absolutely loved his sound. I know that many of you enjoy these interviews and me introducing new artists to you, that’s one of the reasons I decided to hit him up for a short Q&A.

Why music? Music has always lived in me. I am music.

Why go for this music genre in particular? I love music generally but up tempo and soulful sounds give me joy and inner peace plus I love dancing as well.

Would you say your childhood influenced your love music? Yes, quite a lot because I listened to plenty of music at young age. That unleashed the musician in me and I started playing self-made drums and self-made guitars. I would use anything that created music sound; even in primary school when others were playing soccer, I would be busy making music by singing and beating desks as my drums.

Which other music genres would you like to tap into in the near future? It is unpredictable because I can compose different genres currently. I wrote a reggae album for Matshikos titled Ejele.  I can do a lot when coming to producing music.

What do you think makes African music different? African music is rich and full of melodies from the beats to the voices.

What has being a music producer & artist taught you thus far? Freedom of being yourself and to give what is coming from your soul.

Who is your favourite African artist? There are many but to name a few: Lady Zamar; Techno; Micasa and Zahara. The list is long because Africa is rich with talented musicians.

African female artist you’d like to collaborate with? I have a quite a few there as well but for now – Zahara

Why do you think it is important for music producers to collaborate with one another? Because different minds and touches can be brought together to come up with a good musical recipe. It will also help grow and enhance each other’s skills.

Why do you think it is important that as South African Artists we don’t get too inspired by the western then end up losing our touch in the end? One can take a few pointers from artists worldwide and also enjoy the sounds they make but keeping our African touch alive and the identity of our country and the continent as a whole is key.

In one word.. Describe a proud African.. Patriotic.


Q&A With TDK Macassette

Thandeka Mkhwanazi aka TDK Macassette sure is one of the sexiest things in the entertainment scene right now. This kwaito-musician and performer, also owns her own Publication Relations Company and says being a musician was never part of her plan but it all happened so quickly. She does however mention that music has always been a part of her life and that she wouldn’t trade her life right now for anything in the world. Read below as I got to have a Q&A session with this #YEBO hit maker;

Which 5 words best describe TDK Macassette? 

  1. Dedicated
  2. Hard working
  3. Loving
  4. Fun
  5. Active

What motivates you? TDK Macassette.

Share your story of how you were 1st introduced to the music industry; It’s a very funny story but I’ll cut it short – I was actually through working with Dj Maphorisa & a client from Cameroon. I was just fooling around in studio.

Do you come from a musical family? No, but music has always been a great part of my life.

Which famous musicians do you admire & you have learned from? In South Africa I would say the late Lebo Mathosa and internationally it will have to be the amazing Beyonce.

Were you influenced by old records & tapes? Not really, I just loved radio & music generally from a young age.

Who are your favorite musicians or Groups? Has to be Boom Shaka & Destiny’s Child.

Do you prefer to work alone or within a team? Alone.

Do you get nervous before a performance? Oh yes I do all the time hey – never easy.

Tell me about your courage and confidence when handling a mistake during a performance; I get back right up like it was part of the plan, it’s very interesting how I handle it hay, to be honest I never plan anything its always surprising.

How often and for how long do you practice? At least once a day but mostly twice which would depend on my team.

What do you like to dislike about your current position? Nothing. I love it!!!!

How do you balance your music with other obligations, personal life, love life and family? Time management. I diarise most of my duties and schedules.

Besides performing, what else keeps you busy? My business, I own a public relations management company named Tdeeiosion that deals with a lot of corporate clients.


Let’s Get To Know Music Entrepreneur Andy Tylo

I know that most of you would agree with me that KZN’s music scene is on fire right now, hip hop, house, Gqom – everything, we’re legit serving real source. So I recently got to chat with Mr. #NihambaNibamba himself, Andy Tylo – following his recent release featuring CoolPrince.

For someone who doesn’t know Andy, describe yourself in a sentence;

Andy Tylo is a humble Superstar Artist & DJ who is a trendsetter.

Tell me more about your childhood;

I grew up north of KZN in a small town called Pongola. I came to pursue my varsity life in
Durban in 2008. I then began producing and DJying House music, which later followed by breaking out of the box and mastering other genres.

Click HERE to download #NihambaNibamba

What inspired your latest single #NihambaNibamba?

 Its to inspire people that everything they touch must turn into Gold. It’s a happy song.

What have you learned since being exposed to entertainment industry?

Respect the people you meet everyday – you will never know when you will need them.

What don’t you like about this industry?

The fact that it’s a little bit too small (my wish is to grow it bigger like how the likes of Legendary Brenda Fassie & Soul brothers did it.

Give me 5 of your favourite artists in KZN?

Well there is a lot it will be unfair to separate them.

What’s the most played track in your car?

#NihambaNibamba

Click HERE to get #NihambaNibamba on iTune

When can people expect your first album?

Early next year.

Besides music, what else do you do?

I’m a brand builder and a Creative Director of a trends Company that involves fashion and Events’.

What personal advice would you give to someone wanting to pursue a career in music?

You need to love it, you need to be willing to do it everyday of your life. You basically need to forget about the money or fame and focus on the vision.

What’s next from Andy Tylo?

More music, more events and more Sauce.

Music is… Me

Love is… What I give

My favourite season is… Summer

I grew up… A people’s person

My strength is… People


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