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Bongeziwe Mabandla

Singer, musician, and songwriter based in Johannesburg, South Africa

Armando Bellmas
Armando Bellmas
Bongeziwe Mabandla

Today on Ecléctico you're listening to Bongeziwe Mabandla, a musician, singer, and songwriter from South Africa. Mabandla floats his falsetto voice over a combination of electronic beats and folk melodies. His storytelling is charismatic, conveying emotion and authenticity.

You'll go deeper with an excerpt from and a link to an interview between Bongeziwe Mabandla and journalist Lior Phillips on The Creative Independent.


"Zange" by Bongeziwe Mabandla
2020 | Singer, musician, and songwriter based in Johannesburg, South Africa


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I got into music just because I really liked it. I liked following musicians throughout high school. I was just fascinated by it, but I never really thought that I could do it myself. I was more of a fan. So I wish growing up somebody would’ve said, “You know, you could be a singer!” I didn’t have the most conventional voice, so I don’t think a lot of people saw me as a singer, even to the point where I didn’t see myself as one.

What specifically do you mean by not being conventional? I know that you grew up singing in church choirs, and your music has this clarion, soulful feeling. Was it just that you weren’t angled toward pop?

Especially growing up in the Eastern Cape [South Africa], people really sing. In black South African cultures and homes, there’s this natural way that people learn how to harmonize. This is done at church, at school. So I just didn’t have that technique and that sharpness. I grew up with that church music society, and at the same time we were very much fascinated with voices like Whitney Houston, Mariah Carey—very smooth voices, and I was definitely not like that. And then going to white schools also brought in certain influences.

South Africa

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