Durban born, Johannesburg based musician Mashayabhuqe KaMamba, or Ntsikelelo Christ Ndlovu when he’s not performing, is the founder of ‘Digital Maskandi’: traditional Zulu music for a new generation. His unique sound was recently recognised by Thandiswa Mazwai through her King Tha 4 The Babies search for an unsigned local artist to lend her unmistakable voice to for a duet. Mashayabhuqe KaMamba met her criteria of a young musician moving against the grain while still undoubtedly grounded in a true South African sound. The result of the collaboration was released as a single in May titled ‘Izayoni Tribute To Makhuzwayo’ after Mashayabhuqe’s grandmother. He told Okayafrica, “This song invites every kid in Africa into my spiritual journey as an artist growing up in this 21st century where everything gets diluted very easily… talking cultures, religions and indigenous languages.” The song merges IsiXhosa, when Thandiswa sings, with Mashayabhuqe’s home language IsiZulu.
In a visual interpretation of his sound, and to coincide with the release of the song, photographer Anthony Bila shot this series of moody and textured images of the young artist whose name won’t be far from your lips this year.