Thandiswa Mazwai gears up for ‘Sankofa’ album launch at Carnival City

Thandiswa Mazwai. Picture: Instagram

Thandiswa Mazwai. Picture: Instagram

Published May 9, 2024


Local singing sensation, Thandiswa Mazwai is set to serenade fans in Johannesburg this weekend as she prepares to launch her fourth studio album, “Sankofa”.

The renowned musician explained to Independent Media Lifestyle that her Carnival City musical showcase is also being held to celebrate the 20-year anniversary of her first solo album, “Zabalaza”.

One of the biggest songs on the album is “Nizalwa Ngobani”, which has resonated with fans far and wide over the past two decades.

But many might not know that Mazwai wrote that song during a time when she was mourning the death of her mother.

“Throughout my career, everything I have written has been an attempt to hold on to my mother, to hold on to the memory of my mother,” she admitted.

“‘Nizalwa Ngubani’ was kind of like the combination of that. I wrote the song because I was thinking about my mother and what she would want me to write. What song would make her proud of me?

“It was a question for me more than anything. It’s an idea my mother had implanted in my mind as a kid. I am an African from Cape to Cairo and Africa is my home. And so I wanted to pay tribute to my mother for having planted this idea in me and for the fact that the idea has influenced the direction of my entire career.”

Many of the tracks on that album has proven to be timeless hits and Mazwai said that her intention with “Zabalaza” was for it to start a conversation.

“That is why the music is written in the languages isiXhosa and isiZulu because those are the languages that I use and that the people I am trying to talk, to understand.

“My music remains relevant because it speaks in a particular language, and it’s very clear about who it’s speaking to. When South Africans listen to those songs, they know it is for them.

“I write in our traditional languages and I think that’s the thing that keeps the music alive,” she explained.

And to celebrate “Sankofa”, which drops on Friday, May 10, “King Tha“ as Mazwai is affectionately known as, released “Kulungile”, a song about her childhood trauma.

“A lot of my work, especially with my solo albums, is usually looking at much bigger ideas about the collective of us as black people,” she said.

“And at most times, I would be quite sneaky about putting my private thoughts to these songs.”

As an example, she explained that “Nizalwa Ngobani” is about remembering her mother, but others might resonate with the song in another way.

“So ‘Kulungile' was an attempt at me singing about the trauma. Not saying ‘we’ and then hiding the trauma in there. I was like, I will sing about my trauma and thina [we] will be at the end when I say ‘Kulungile’.”

“Sankofa” was recorded in multiple locations and its title comes from Ghana, meaning it’s a Pan-African album made for all black people in Africa and the diaspora, she said.

“The album was recorded in Johannesburg Dakar and in New York. The sounds on the album are from mostly West Africa.

“I got together with Tendai Shoko, a base player from Zimbabwe. We sat together and did the pre-production. We put Xhosa instruments like Uhadi and Umrhubhe.

“Then we took it to Senegal and said, ‘This is the song we’re working on’, the Senegalese musicians had to respond to Umrubhe. They were like: ‘What is that?’ and we told them it’s a traditional instrument from South Africa and they also brought their traditional instruments like Kora and the Ngoni.

“The same thing happened when I took it to America, the Americans were responding to Umrubhe and Uhadi and something was happening to them in response to the music, to what they were hearing and then they were putting that response to the music,” Mazwai explained.

Where: Carnival City’s Big Top Arena.

When: Saturday, May 11 at 8pm.

Cost: R350 at Computicket.

Rand Club Classic & Sport Car Breakfast Ride

Petrolheads are in for a treat this weekend as the Rand Club is hosting a Classic and Sports Car Breakfast Ride.

The event will feature classic cars, some of which were built more than 25 years ago.

It will also include a semi-convoy, followed by a delicious plated English breakfast as well as a selection of cereals and scones. and juice.

“Car lovers will get to experience some of the ide in the fastest and most classic cars after breakfast, so make sure you attend,” organisers said.

Where: Nice on 4th Avenue in Parkhurst.

When: Saturday, May 11 from 8.30am.

Cost: R150 at Quicket.

Cadillacs are a huge presence at classic events. This is a 1958 model. Picture: File.

Mother’s Day All-White Picnic

What better way to celebrate Mother’s Day than with other moms dressed in your Sunday best? Enjoy an all-day picnic in your all-white outfit and take a break from mothering.

Don’t worry about food and drinks because they will be sold at the venue, but should you wish to bring some beverage, the cooler box fee is R250 at the gate.

Where: The Backyard Guesthouse in Protea Glen, Soweto.

When: Sunday, May 12, 12pm.

Cost: R250 at Webtickets.

Enjoy all-white Mother’s Day picnic. Picture: File.