Bushbuckridge offers a unique opportunity to anyone wanting to venture into music given the language diversity that characterizes this part of Mpumalanga. Almost every person claiming permanent residence of this melting pot can understand a third of the eleven languages spoken in South Africa.
It is that advantage that local kwai-hop [a mixture of vintage kwaito-hip-hop] group which calls itself Zinja wants to take to penetrate the South Afrikan music industry. Made up of six members who go by names such as Ndabs, Glex, Soja, Jozzline, Spicegold and Geuzin the group has already recorded a sizeable number of songs and shot five videos. Our vote for their videos is 'they make Nollywood look like a rehearsal, they are brilliant'.
“Our fascination with music started in 2008 when we set up a group called MP Gangsta [modeled after GP Gangsta for sure] which has since received limited airplay on Ligwalagwala FM, [an offshoot of the state owned SABC]. Seeing that we couldn’t always perform together as a group due to distance we formed Zinja, which is an off-shoot of MP Gangsta”, Mahlatse ‘Ndabs’ Ndabandaba opens our interview.
He says that they opted for Zinja ‘to warn that we are biting, we are hot’. Ndabandaba admits that there’s no lyrical content in kwaito music which made them decide to fuse both kwaito and hip-hop. He says the repetition of lyrics turned them off but they still wanted to flow on a kwaito beat – lest they decided on kwai-hop instead of a pure hip-hop genre.
“We saw that a lot of things were happening in places around us and nothing was moving in Shatale. We thought that if we can make it through music, more people who otherwise would have done crime will follow suit, and that’s the bigger picture for us”, adds Gladwell ‘Glex’ Machaba.
While the two are cynical about the linguistic purity that has engulfed local music with acts like Zuluboy (isiZulu), Tuks (Setswana) and Proverb (English) they somehow believe that good music should cut across races and cultures. “Either you feature someone from another tribe to cut across or you write in those languages, which is an advantage that us, while we represent Bushbuckridge to the end, has”, Ndabandaba concludes.
Zinja’s album Boots & Kherian, which was produced by Johnny Quest and Spicegold should be out as they are negotiating the final details of their deal.