Music legend returns to the scene with new release

Thandiswa Mazwai. Picture: Oupa Mokoena Independent Newspapers

Thandiswa Mazwai. Picture: Oupa Mokoena Independent Newspapers

Published Mar 24, 2024


Leading South African singer and songwriter Thandiswa Mazwai is set to make yet another iconic return to the centre of the local music industry with a new musical offering.

Sankofa is the music legend’s latest offering, which is set to celebrate the former Bongo Maffin singer’s 20 years of yet another iconic record, Zabalaza.

Zabalaza, the singer’s first solo album, was released in 2004 following a hugely successful career with Bongo Maffin.

Mazwai, who has enjoyed almost a three-decade music career, said she was amazed by the passage of time.

“I cannot believe it’s been 20 years. And what an incredible 20 years. Zabalaza became my magnum opus and ended up inspiring an entire generation to look within, engage with their culture, and seek an affirming aesthetic that represents their Africanness. Thank you to everyone who loved this work, nindenze umntu,” the singer said.

Sankofa will be released ahead of the country’s general elections in May, which will be celebrated with an exciting performance at Carnival City, Johannesburg, on May 11. Tickets are available at Computicket.

“Sankofa in the Ghanaian language Twi means to go back and fetch what’s been left behind – what is important, what honours you, and what needs healing. How apt that as I prepare to launch this new work, my seminal album Zabalaza, celebrates 20 years. For me, this is the year of Sankofa,“ Mazwai said.

Recorded in Johannesburg, Dakar and New York, the album combines archival Xhosa music, jazz and West African rhythms, and includes songs produced by Meshell Ndegeocello and Nduduzo Makhathini, and collaborations with Thandi Ntuli and Tendai Shoko.

Known for only releasing new music when the time is right, Mazwai said the making of the much-awaited album was a special journey.

“The making of Sankofa was a thrilling sonic odyssey that took me from villages of the Eastern Cape to Dakar and New York, weaving a thread that culminated in something truly special.

“Within those ancient rhythms and polyrhythms, a common lexicon revealed itself to me and I’m excited to share this music with those who have been growing and evolving with me.

“Listen out for uhadi, umrhubhe, ngoni, kora and drums in the music. It is about a celebration of the pan-African spirit and reconnecting with the African diaspora,“ she said.

The Star

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