Born Ndzabaletimnandzi Mngomezulu, R.K is one of eSwatini’s underground rappers. The young wordsmith is not new to the industry with over 10 projects under his name. R.K mentions winning the Francophonie 2015 Rap Competition which led to him performing at the Bush Fire Festival in the same year and performing at numerous events in the city of Shenyang, China as well as some of the highlights of his career.
The Cool EP Vol.1 is more of alternative/chill hip hop with some really cool samples here and there, layered into a pretty solid offering, with R.K rapping like his life depends on it. “What motivated this release was where I was in my life, and musically. I felt inspired and energised to approach and create a body of work in a way I never have, which was exciting and liberating,” he explains what motivated the release of the EP.”I’m forever looking at ways to express myself and grow in my craft, so the desire to grow was also and still remains a major part of why I make new music”, he elaborates.
At the core The Cool EP is about finding yourself, loving yourself, and being yourself. Allowing yourself to be you and do you. It’s about honesty and growth. All of this presented into a vibe of a project.” I’ve been describing it to myself as “head in the clouds” type music. You kinda end up drifting when you listen to it”, he briefly shares about the EP.
Formerly known as “Wavy Gorilla” Bauer Larson is a Swati born artist and writer with a distinct voice and colorful skill-set. His music often rotates between exuberant optimism and harsh realism. His music can be classified (but not limited to) as Hip Hop and Rap music, with subtle elements of Jazz and Funk. Lars is obsessed with the minor details that most people overlook and he is known for planting layered Easter Eggs throughout his songs much to the delight of rap nerds and music critics.
Born Gcinizwilenkhosi Bauer Saint, Larson Dlamini, Bauer Larson is an artist that has always been creative and has evolved from making comic books and short films to being the future of eSwatini’s hip hop. “I’ve been creating for as long as I can remember. Back in Primary school, my best friends and I used to make comic books at my house after school. In early high school, I used to make short films, animated sketches, and skits for my drama class,” he shares about his motivation to be an artist. “When it came to music, I was spending a lot of time behind the scenes helping people tell their stories, then I realized I had my own story to tell. No one pushed me towards that revelation, the desire to express myself artistically has always been there, I just hadn’t acknowledged it until I decided to tell my own story. In a sense, it was very much self-motivated,” he adds.
Bauer Larson recalls receiving an acoustic guitar for Christmas and playing it all day with no direction before being taught by his cousin (Sands), as some of his childhood musical memories. “The first Hip Hop video I ever remember seeing was 50 Cent’s ‘In Da Club’. I was probably 4 or 5 years old when I saw that. I didn’t understand what the song was about, but I thought it was cool seeing someone rap upside down,” he continues to share about his childhood memories.
We had a chat with the Taiwan based artist and this is how it went.
Who or what motivates/inspires your music? Life! My music and creative work is based on the human experience. On life in the real world, not an Instagram fantasy or a GTA video game. That’s why so many people are able to connect with the music on an emotional level. As long as I’m alive, I’ll always have something to write about.
Take us through your song making process? I don’t really have a formula for writing songs. tbh (to be honest). I do a lot of journaling and sometimes I turn those thoughts into song lyrics. Sometimes I randomly start freestyling stuff and I build concepts around raw ideas. In essence, I make projects. I rarely make throwaway songs. When making a project I usually have some themes and concepts I want to explore so I let my curiosity lead the way. Once I find something solid, I’m able to draft track lists and use titles to represent the themes I want to break down.
You recently released a project entitled “Behind Closed Doors”,briefly share the concept about this project and the whole storyline behind every song? There’s sooo many layers to this. I’m looking forward to people dissecting it and picking it apart. So, I won’t give away too much here.
Early on, the concept was to bring people into my inner world. Overtime that concept evolved and I developed it in a way where it starts off with me on the outside of a door that leads to my dreams, solid relationships and more. Which then concludes with me on the inside, having crossed over. The project begins with me leaving home and embarking on a journey towards my dream. It then concludes with me returning home a new man having witnessed many things, collected battle scars and formed deeper rooted relationships.
Milk & Honey: This song is about our dreams that were killed coming back to life. About finding the drive to push towards the end goal.
Watch Ya Step: This song is about me finding my own path, I tried to follow in my father’s steps but I couldn’t find my footing because his path is unique to him. Destiny isn’t hereditary, so I had to take the first step along my own path. This song is also about the paradox of progress. About how the closer you get to your goals the further you feel. Progress isn’t a reliable measure of success because it doesn’t always mean you’re going in the right direction. On this song, I was wrestling with idea of taking your time vs racing against the clock. Taking your time can lead to procrastination, whereas rushing leads to mistakes and fatigue. It was interesting for me to try and find the grey area or a balance between the two extremes. On top of that, it’s about handling the drive and passion we have when pursuing our dream responsibly to avoid burnout and overworking ourselves.
Eviction Notice: This song is about rest. Finding rest in God, giving certain relationships a rest and letting my past rest in peace.
Moving Day: This song is about growth and self-acceptance. Coming out of your protective shell and becoming the person you were created to be. Flaws and all.
Locksmith: This song is about being open. It’s about inviting God and trust worthy people into our lives, and allowing ourselves to be vulnerable with one another in order to build lasting relationships. This song was birthed from my need to connect with people. I wanted to feel welcomed and accepted as a broken and imperfect person. And, the first step was to be welcoming and accepting of others.
That sums up the journey of self-discovery this project was for me. There’s a lot I haven’t mentioned because I don’t want to spoil too much for the audience. There’s a bunch of Easter eggs people have found yet. Happy trails!
How has the reception to the project been? It’s been incredible. I refused to dumb down the content in order to be more appealing because I trust my audience. I don’t look down on them, I know they’re intelligent. I’m really glad they’re enjoying it! I work really hard, my creative work has so much value to me and it’s personal, so sharing it with my audience and the rest of the word is always a big deal for me. I don’t share anything unless I enjoy it, otherwise there isn’t much of a sacrifice involved. One major takeaway people should get from this is that there’s joy on the other side of sacrifice.
Who produced the project? Milk & Honey: Produced By Good Snacks, Recorded By Patrick Kung, Mixed & Mastered By BeatNine09
Watch Ya Step: Produced By Yolophonik, Recorded By Patrick Kung, Mixed By Qiniso Motsa &Mastered By Brian Mkhonta
Eviction Notice: Produced By Zee Will of Blu Makic Beat Co, Recorded By BeatNine09, Mixed & Mastered By BeatNine09
Moving Day: Produced By ULTRV, Recorded By BeatNine09, Mixed & Mastered By BeatNine09
Locksmith: Produced By Zee Will of Blu Makic Beat Co, Recorded By Patrick Kung, Mixed & Mastered By BeatNine09,
Written & Performed By Gcinizwilenkhosi Bauer Dlamini Executively Produced By Bauer Larson
You featured Yellow Bud and Yanda, how did these collaborations come about?
Bud and I went to the same Primary school, so we were already familiar with one another before he started putting out music. I had such a great time listening to his debut project “Late Bloomer” (which came out around this time last year). I remember wanting to understand the project and the artist behind it more, so I met up with him to reconnect. We met up, spoke about life and had a chill day. Then I played him some early drafts of BCD, as well as a couple of beats I had from different producers. The Moving Day beat stood out for me because it was something neither of us recognized as familiar territory. So I asked him if he was game and he was all for it. We documented the rest of this collaboration and you can watch the track come to life on Episode 2 of the Mini Documentary Series we made surrounding the project. It’s available on my YouTube channel.
Yanda and I go to the same University and have classes together. We never really spoke until a friend of mine told me he was performing at a school event with her. I remember being shocked because I hardly ever heard her speak out loud, yet alone sing. I was curious, so I asked her about her singing the next time I saw her at school. She was really humble about her ability so I immediately knew she was incredible. We started talking more and more about music amongst other things and I gradually became at ease with her. She’s really cool! Before I got a chance to bring up the track that I wanted her on, she suggested we collaborate on something sometime. A couple weeks later we went to Pat’s studio, by then I had already written and recorded the song so all we needed were her vocals on the chorus. It was her first time in a studio setting so I booked an hour of studio time so she wouldn’t feel rushed. She knocked it out the park on her second try, which was within the first five minutes of our session…
I’d love to work with her again. She’s got a lot to talk about in her music, which excites about what’s to come from her. I don’t know when she’s releasing some solo material, but when she does, we all need to press play and listen.
Eviction Notice was the lead single for the project, briefly tell us why you chose those songs? It felt right. We needed to make a statement and that’s what that song did. In comparison to my release prior to Eviction Notice, the difference in quality, content and substance is night and day. It gave people a reason to wait as long as they did for the project.
What are your thoughts on the current state of eSwatini’s music scene? I think it currently is in the best place it’s ever been. I’m not the most cultured on Eswatini music, I mostly listen to my friend’s music and they’re killing it right now. There’s a lot of great music coming out. I don’t get to hear everything, but what finds its way to me is usually really good. We have amazing artists in the realm production like Good Snacks, ULTRV, Brainz, BeatNine09 & YungOvee. As of late, I’ve been listening to Yang, RK, Grixxly & Amrig.
My favorite thing about the creative bubble at home is how connected all the artists are. I really call people and people really call me. No ego or nothing, just some young innovators trying to create art at the highest level possible.
Who is currently your favorite artist from the kingdom? I haven’t heard everyone’s creative work. I’ll focus on Khile because he’s got a large catalog already. Khile (FKA Kaizen) has been one of my favorite artists for a while now. He makes original, conceptual, and intellectual music. I love the honesty, complexity, and layers in his writing as well as the soundscapes and textures in his production choices. It’s only a matter of time before his music catches on. I can see him breaking out the borders into international territory. I’d recommend “Woah Now”, “Dissipate”, “Precipitate”, “Flotra Freestyle” & “Flight”.
Being an artist based in the diaspora, how has it been?
Such a great question! As much as I love Eswatini, I did need to leave my comfort zone to spread my wings. Studying in Taiwan was the fresh start I didn’t know I needed. There are more opportunities, avenues, and resources available here for me to be creative. Being away from my friends and family allowed me to grow as a person. In the past, I’ve noticed that you’re not allowed to dream past a certain level in Eswatini. There’s a limit. My team and I are wired to go above and beyond, that’s our own standard. That’s why I have admiration for people like Kwandzile Bhembe, for playing a role in breaking down the boundaries of creativity in Eswatini.
What have been the highlights of your career? So far, it’s been making and releasing ‘Behind Closed Doors’. Honestly the journey towards the finish line is more fun than the actual finish. The process of bringing the vision to life and connecting the dots is exhilarating for me. I’m not invested in the praise and admiration our creative work receives. I know that if I get attached to the praise and affection of people, I’ll get clingy and start doing whatever it takes to get applause. That’s not me. I’m not here to be liked.
Where can potential fans gain access to your music?
Everywhere! When it comes to releasing music, our top priority is making sure everyone has access to the music. Soundcloud and Audiomack are really popular platforms for music in Eswatini, however, a lot of people out here in Taiwan (and the rest of the world) use Spotify, Apple Music, and other DSPs, so I wanted them to be able to obtain the music as well. Our music is available wherever you listen to music. In fact, a member of our audience recently let us know that the YouTube links for our project weren’t working in Eswatini. So, we immediately manually re-uploaded it so everyone back home has access to the music.
Swazi Jive entertainment is back with another superb to kick start the year. At the beginning of 2019 the had their first ever cypher which was well received and saw the president of Swazi Jive also drop some bars. The 2020 cypher is fresh and flaming hot, from the setting of the video to the Wigo produced beat and crazy bars spit by the lads. The cypher features Luci Gang Child, OG King, Jurie, Jody Brown, Able Klein and Steez One of my favourite things about this cypher is the beat produced by Welile Wigo Mthethwa, the beat has a lo-fi feel with some incredible samples put all together into the perfect freestyle beat any rap would love. Major credit also goes to all the rappers featured on the cypher, their delivery and breath control was just impeccable with the end product being nothing short of sensational and their lyrical content was on point with room for improvement. A major shoutout to DIREKTOR ALPHA and Focus Tales TI who snapped on the visuals. The visuals are fresh and clean with the setting blending perfectly with the grimy yet lo-fi beat and hard delivery from the rappers(who are trying to prove a point), encapsulating the whole concept of a cypher. This is a great way to start the year by Swazi Jive after a silent 2019 and an exodus of most of their artist. Credit to all the rappers featured on the cypher, we hope to see and hear more from them.
Following is stellar debut release The Parcel EP, Parcel proved that he is here to stay and give us more stunning releases. He is now back with another EP, and has brought the heat once again. His afro sound is the type you can’t get enough off with some crazy yet touching bass line. On the opening song Ekhaya flexes with a lead guitar which will have you playing an invisible lead guitar and every hair in your body standing up because of this heavy and groovy bass line with a touch of shadow voices. The second song is entitled Music Is Life and is also another stunning jam fusing a number of elements but focusing more on a standout bass line, making you dance by force. This is the kind of afro house you can expect in those Ibiza parties.
The 3rd edition of The MTN SWAMA Awards is seven days away, with voting having recently ended,
everyone is looking forward to who will be taking home one of the most prestigious awards in the kingdom of eSwatini. With a dress theme of Glitz and Glamour, the Royal Swazi Convention Centre will the place to be on the 7th of December, celebrating all of the hardworking Swati artists. In light of this, we will be curating a daily playlist that will feature every nominee from each category until the day of the event. The main aim of these playlists is to promote these artists to a wider audience and prove that they were nominated deservingly.
With this curated playlist, we feature the Best Gospel Artist category. According to Wikipedia, “gospel music is a genre of Christian music. The creation, performance, significance, and even the definition of gospel music varies according to culture and social context. Gospel music is composed and performed for many purposes, including aesthetic pleasure, religious or ceremonial purposes, and as an entertainment product for the marketplace. Gospel music usually has dominant vocals (often with strong use of harmony) with Christian lyrics is a genre of Christian music. The creation, performance, significance, and even the definition of gospel music varies according to culture and social context. Gospel music is composed and performed for many purposes, including aesthetic pleasure, religious or ceremonial purposes, and as an entertainment product for the marketplace. Gospel music usually has dominant vocals (often with strong use of harmony) with Christian lyrics.
Nothando Hlophe – Uyangilelwa
Ever since her debut, Nothando Hlophe has been marvelous and a fan favorite. This song is taken off her album recorded live at the Soweto Theatre in South Africa. It talks about how God is fighting and winning battles for her.
Samu Manana – Uyasebeka
Not new to the music scene, having been with Ncwandeni Christ Ambassadors. Uyasebeka is a SiSwati song praising and thanking God for His greatness and no one like Him. She talks about God’s sovereignty, eternal reign and makes couple of bible references thus why she’s bursting into song and praising Him. This is one of those modern gospel songs with a strong message.
Linda Dlamini – Lona ngumnyaka wetfu
This is a song reassuring believers that this is the year that we are going to be remembered by the Heavens. This song was an instant hit among the gospel fraternity because of the it’s message and was on high rotation on local radio stations.
Mimzkhlu – Hallelujah
Mimzkhulu is a gospel hip hop artist who has been making waves since his debut. On this song, he features Skhubash, and they are appreciating God for being merciful and not neglecting them despite being a sinful human.
Phetsile Masilela – Imphilo yami
Imphilo Yami is another song giving thanks to the Lord, she emphasizes that her life is fully and wholly dependent on God and states how God is her comforter and shield. This is another fan favorite amongst the gospel fraternity.
Police Male Voices
Unfortunately I wasn’t able to find any of their songs online but having heard their music a number of times I can safely say that they are well deserving nominees and have been in the music industry for a while and continued to deliver amazing music. Watch a recent performance by Police Male Voices.
Born Nomfundo Spies, Adrienne Foo is an award winning swati artist who graces many local and international stages. From her debut performance in Chicago to being recently featured as Trace Africa’s WCW with her video for ‘Treasure’ being on high rotation on the channel, the sultry songstress was always destined for stardom. “Adrienne Foo is a superstar. She’s a creative. She’s a musician.”
Outside of music, Foo is a lover and family girl who draws inspiration from all sorts of people — popular and unpopular. “There’s always something to learn and something to draw inspiration from but my biggest inspiration comes from the dreams I have for myself”, she shares about what inspires her music. With her latest hit song “Asambe” making rounds on radio, she proves her versatility in music with a song that has an Afro feel which is a sing-along love song. “My sound can really be anything I want it to be at that time. I can give you an Afro feel. I can give you new school R&B, I can drop a few bars and I can give you some soul and the list goes on” Adrienne describes her sound.
“Essentially, I’m training myself to be as versatile as I possibly can in order to create good music in any space you put me in. The dream I have for Adrienne Foo is legendary,” she elaborates. “Asambe is one of my most beautiful pieces of work. It was really an example of how I’m dipping my toes into whatever I’d like to and it turned out to be a beautiful love song” she shares about her latest song.
With a mesmerising voice rooted in, Foo emphasises that her goal is to spread her music beyond eSwatini. “Eswatini has not been my only goal to be honest. I’m coming for the whole world,” sharing about her goals as an artist.
The music industry isn’t all fun and games as artists are faced with a truckload of challenges. Adrienne Foo believes that these challenges just show you that you are in the right direction. “Be yourself! That will set you apart. You do not need to try to be different. If you seek love, be yourself. Always do your best and believe in yourself with all your heart” sharing what she believes to be her recipe to success. Stay focused on the goal and keep your eye on the prize. Do not let other peoples’ success and blessings distract you from achieving your own or from what your dream is,” she elaborates. The Swazi Jive signee also believes that it is vital that you celebrate others in this industry regardless of your own struggles.
Having had a stunning career thus far, Adrienne Foo is yet to reach her pinnacle and shall forever be cherished by emaSwati for the beautiful music she makes. With promises of more music this year one should keep an eye on her social media platforms.
The eSwatini International Trade Fair (EITF) aims to promote eSwatini’s goods and services; develop links between eSwatini and international businesses, provide business exposure and promote development of small and medium enterprises. The two week long fair also gives a platform to local and international musicians to showcase their talent. The eSwatini Investment Authority (EIPA) partners with the Swaziland Arts and Music Association (SWAMA) and Association of Christian Artists in Swaziland (ACASWA) to handle the musical side of the trade fair.
The main attraction for musicians is the business seminar. “There is a great need for artists to transform their informal ‘hustle’ into formal processes that can be quantified” SWAMA president shares about the business seminar. “It is high time the music industry’s contribution to the economy gets quantified, and the only way that can happen is when artists themselves, get formal training on managing their music and brands as a business” he adds.
Artists are business people, they are employers, they are creatives and most importantly they have a product or skill to sell. This business seminar will equip artists in aspects that are necessary to advancing their careers and in turn make money through their talents. The business seminar will be on the 2nd of September from 11 AM with the main speaker being DJ Cleo of Eskhaleni Fame. Entrance is free and all artists are invited at Mavuso Trade Centre — the business centre right above the restaurants.
SWAMA has also invited successful, hardworking local and international artists to come and connect with local musicians on various topics. Topics to be covered during the seminar will answer the question of where the money is within the scope of the music business in eSwatini and beyond.
eSwatini International Trade Fair: Music Business Seminar Full Package
Royalties – Ms Nobuhle Matsebula (Ministry of Commerce Legal Adviser & Intellectual Rights Registrar)
Gigs & Live Performances – Steven Mtetwa (Artist Manager – So Fresh)
Digital Opportunities & Streaming – Mmeli Hlanze (Antidote Music)
Events – Mthunzi Shadow Zwane (Swaziboy Entertaiment)
Licensing & Scoring for TV & Film – Rendition (Motherland X)
Teaching music – Velemseni
Producing for other Musicians and Corporates – Mozaik The Producer (Claiming Ground Records)
Session Work – Sizwe Mabuza Big Siz (Project S Cubed Band)
R&B is a genre that is not that popular in eSwatini and the kingdom does not have many R&B artists. Mandisa Mamba is a diverse R&B singer-songwriter who made her official debut in 2016 and has achieved major success. After a year in the music industry, Mandisa was nominated as the Best R&B artist at the MTN SWAMA Awards 2017 and was listed as one of the artists to watch in 2018 by Glam Africa Magazine. We had a chance to chat to her recently to find out more about her.
What or who inspires you as an artist?
I am very fascinated and inspired by the idea that we have the power to create our own reality, it makes me hungry to see the kind of experiences I can consciously bring into my life. I am also inspired by women who push boundaries and break barriers, women like Bonang and Beyonce.
Describe your sound ?
I fall under the R&B genre but I like to think of my music as experimental in the sense that I mostly go with the flow, so when I pick a sound to write to it’S because I connect to it and sometimes it may be the furthest thing from a normal R&B sound.
What are some of the challenges have you faced especially in eSwatini’s musical scene ?How have you overcome these challenges?
I think the biggest challenge has been growing in Eswatini. It’s a small group that truly believes in us artists and although I am truly grateful for those who support us, it would be great if Eswatini as a whole stood by their entertainers. Unfortunately, this also applies to show promoters who tend to create 90% of their show focus on artists from outside our borders. This is not to say we should not be inviting and appreciating artists from outside of Eswatini, but this is a serious reflection of how much there is little support for the Swazi artist. I know in disagreeing with me, one may be tempted to point out one or two shows that are centered around Swazi artists, but unfortunately in such cases or “opportunities”, we face issues such as low pay or no pay at all, whilst the very same promoter would be willing to pay an outsider 50 times more.
No, there hasn’t been a solution in place but I would suggest that the eSwatini Music Associations comes together and does the following:
1. Pass a law that states a minimum pay for artists.
2. Ensure that at least 80% shows/festivals are centered around Swazi entertainers.
3. The Swazi audience can help us (as the artist) through silent/non-violent protests to demonstrate disapproval on shows that have little or no support for the Swazi artist.
Truth is we cannot grow nor thrive if our own people continue to look down upon us.
You recently released the video of your song Love Fiend, briefly tell us about the concept behind this song? Love Fiend is a mix of hip/hop and R&B. Inspired by the idea of desiring someone who doesn’t belong to you. The word ‘fiend’ seemed to be perfect to describe the depth of desire I talk about in the song, because it’s not just about the person who is desired but also what the desired person makes the other feel and how it then becomes an obsession or a case of behaving like one who is possessed, but in a sexy way, which you see in the music video. When I wrote the song I was writing from the perspective of the other woman/guy. Because when you listen to the words, you then get that the desired person is in fact involved with someone else. I never exactly intended to write a song for “side people”, the first few lines sort of came about in a jokingly manner and then my producer (Mozaik The producer) and I decided to stick to the story. It was a fun story to create. I wrote love Fiend about 3 years ago and only released it in 2018. Compared to my previous music, people are quite shocked at how daring I am when they hear it for the first time.
How has the reception to the video been?
The reception has been amazing. The music video has been received with so much love and I am so grateful to know that people appreciate my work. Taking into consideration that no one in Eswatini has ever created a music video that is openly sexy and expressive, I was so nervous about how people would respond to it, honestly. So it was a big relief to see that people understand the song itself and the music video.
What do you enjoy most about being a musician? What do you hate most?
I enjoy the process of creation, writing a new song, playing around with melodies and harmonies etc. I also love being on stage, I am excited by live performances. I don’t like that it’s a dog-eat-dog industry; people can be very dishonest, sneaky and selfish. I don’t understand why people are always trying to create ways to own the artist.
Take us through your song making/writing process?
I don’t have an exact formula to be honest. Sometimes I come up with ideas at random times and I’ll put them on my phone. Sometimes I’m able to start and finish a song in one day, sometimes it takes me months, even years. I have songs I started writing 2017 and only managed to finish the story this year. It depends on where I am emotionally I suppose. One thing I have noticed about me is that I am mostly able to tell the story once I am out of the situation, healed or in the process of healing from the pain and anger. Although, when it comes to talking about the good side of love, its easier for me to express it in the moment I am feeling it.
You’ve been featured on a couple of local projects, what is the process behind these collaborations?
I prefer to work with people I admire and respect. The process depends on everyone’s schedule, but it’s always better to be in studio and just move with the flow, together as one.
What advice would you have for someone wanting to follow in your footsteps?
Trust your inner voice and surround yourself with people who believe in you but also who aren’t afraid to tell you the truth about your work. Being able to accept criticism is the key to growth.
What can we expect from you in the latter part of the year?
I have a new single out, it’s called ‘Anymore‘ and it’s on all digital platforms. I’m also currently working on more new music and I hope before the year ends I will have released more of that.
Where can fans-to-be gain access to your music?
Facebook: Mandisa Music
SoundCloud: Mandisa Mamba
“There is only one woman, and her name is all women. Nurture her, protect her, love her, guide her”
Going greens means different things to different people. A good general rule of thumb is to reduce your overall carbon footprint. Kitsi Music is eSwatini’s first and most elite talent booking agency dedicated to developing with vision, expertise and integrity, the touring careers of exceptional Eswatini artists who not only connect, inspire and transform their audience but remain true to the essence of their art. Kitsi translated as ‘where we belong’ is a great cornerstone for well-established and professional artists who have soared in the SADC and are ready to soar worldwide.
This festival is a first of its kind in the kingdom — most festivals have been committed to green lifestyle but none have fully embraced and based their whole concept around it. Through creative collaborations with local premium musicians, the festival will provide environmental education to the attendees in an engaging way that is memorable, relatable and sustainable.
This event will stay true to the green lifestyle and stay in line with the cultural significance of that weekend — entertainment will be created ensure the minimum usage of energy on the main stage. Our artists are of strong cultural origins and they will also incorporate indigenous instruments to create a rare sound. By using the musical medium, the lessons of environmental stewardship will be spoken to the heart and the mind simultaneously. A positive tone, easy, memorable melodies, and a rhythm to dance to make this method of collective communication especially powerful. On top of this, it gives further reasons to take the time to listen to realities that face our earth.
All performances will be during the day to save energy! This is a festival not to be missed as it accommodates all age groups and every type. The stellar lineup which consists of some of eSwatini’s finest artists will surely satisfy your musical pallet and tons other forms of entertainment to ensure you have a splendid experience.
Saturday, the 3rd of August was the day every food and fashion fanatic was looking forward to, as the second edition of the Luju festival was taking place. First up was the junior chef cooking competition at the Amphitheatre which was exhilarating to watch. The kids showcased their culinary skills and acted like professionals with the winning dish being a honey-chili glazed chicken breast on bed of couscous and tsatsiki which was prepared by Jasmine Moyes. While the junior chef cook competition was taking place eSwatini’s very own DJ Ohpis was holding it down with his first set of the day at the main stage and what a marvel to watch. He proved that he is not new to big stages as he kept everyone entertained with his mixing skills and track selection which compromised of a variety of genres.
Every attendee was in a jovial mood, with a majority of attendees going an extra mile to try adhere to the ‘A Return to the African Future’ theme. With a variety of stalls to visit, one could not afford to be bored as the music playing in the background was just perfect in the setting the mood. From vehicles (the Ford Mustang and corvette were a hit), fashion, craft gin/vodka/rum to fitness and food stalls; one had a variety of entertainment choices. One of my favorite things about this year’s edition was the improvement in the sound at the main stage and addition of a stage at the food garden where Cool Affair performed. Another standout performance was Cool Affair who performed at the Luju Garden and made sure everyone was dancing whilst feasting on the variety of food that was available, playing his Acid Jazz/Nu jazz and Soulful House tunes and showcasing his piano skills on his midi-keyboard during his set. We hope to see more acts on the various stages curated for the festival next year. Overall, it was an amazing festival with all the booked acts bringing their A-game, especially the local acts who showed a high level of professionalism and honestly deserve more exposure. Bongo Maffin was the crowd’s favorite, as every single person was singing along during their energetic performance – credit should also be given to DJ Okapi who set the tone with a kwaito set which got everyone feeling nostalgic. I wish Holly Rey wasn’t given an early slot as she gave an energetic and stunning performance alongside her two dancers. Another addition that would be highly appreciated would be the addition of toilets and top up points because the queues at these spots were too long.
Credit must be given to the organisers for pulling it off once again. We ate, swayed and loved every moment. Definitely looking forward to next years edition set for the 1st of August 2020.