Bongeziwe Mbandla

Based: Johannesburg

Born in Tsolo, a rural town in the Eastern Cape, Bongeziwe displayed all the signs of a passion for art and music from an early age. After studying drama at AFDA Johannesburg, Bongeziwe
dedicated his time to song writing and performing shows, developing his own unique unplugged style and earning recognition as a musician. Together with his band, Bongeziwe has created a matchless
Afro-folk sound, over which his soulful voice delivers in both Xhosa and English.
Influenced by artists like Tracy Chapman, Simphiwe Dana, Jabu Khanyile and Oliver Mtukudzi, his sound has a rhythmically grass-roots vibe, while fusing elements of traditional Xhosa music, Mbaqanga, Soul, Hip-hop and Dub.
Bongeziwe has performed at numerous festivals and venues across South Africa including Splashy Fen, Oppikoppi and Rocking the Daisies, as well as Sakifo Festival in Reunion and Azgo Festival in Mozambique. He has shared the stage, whether it’s performing his poetry or his music, with 340ml, Freshlyground and Blk Sonshine to name a few. Bongeziwe has made a number of TV appearances, including Weekend Live and Youth Expression on SABC, as well as having his music used for a variety of movies and TV series. As an actor he’s worked on popular South African soap Generations, TV series Sekhulu & Partners and more recently A Million Colours, a Canadian feature film by Peter Bisha. In 2011, Bongeziwe reached second place in the Radio France Internationale Discoveries Award, and in 2013 he got the opportunity to perform at the Festival d’lle de France in Paris to a warm reception.
In 2012 Bongeziwe released his debut album Umlilo, with producer Paulo Chibanga. The album includes collaborations with local talents Nosisi, former vocalist of Kwani Experience, and Zuluboy. The album has garnered critical acclaim, giving Bongeziwe two nominations at the South African Music Awards 2013, for Best Newcomer and Best Adult African album categories. Bongeziwe was also allowed the privilege of performing live at the SAMAs, and he provided a moving performance of ‘Ngawe
Mama’, which was broadcast across the nation.

AWARDS
SAMA 2013 (Nomination) – Best Newcomer
SAMA 2013 (Nomination) – Best African Adult
RFI Prix Découvertes 2011 (Nomination)

Notable Shows
Rocking The Daisies 2013 (South Africa)
Festival d’lle de France 2013 (France)
Oppikoppi 2013 (South Africa)
Sakifo 2013 (Reunion Island)
Opening for Vieux Farka Touré 2013 (South Africa)
Azgo Festival 2012 (Mozambique)
Indian Ocean Music Market 2012 (Reunion Island)

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