Bholoja (Mbongiseni Ngubane)
Gifted with a multi-colored; intrepid voice and a talent for writing songs that reflect on the daily life and unique culture of the people of his homeland, Bholoja (Mbongiseni Ngubane) is one of Eswatini’s greatest artists. His blending of Southern African traditions, including mbira, sitolotolo, and the traditional drumming styles, has created such a unique sound that is appreciated by audiences of different races. Bholoja is one of the few genuine innovators on the Swazi music scene that will be instrumental in strengthening not only Eswatini but also Africa’s pride, socially, politically, and economically.” Bholoja’s journey to greatness is inevitable and the world cannot wait for his unveiling. Nationality, Swazi. Born: Hhohho, Eswatini (previously Swaziland), 1979. It is easier to describe Bholoja as an “African” than to pin him down to national boundaries. So too with the music of this multi-instrumentals, which draws on influences including the unique Swazi cultures, and other world musicians like Ismael Lo, Salif Keita and Oliver Mtukudzi. Yet apart from the individuality of his music, Bholoja’s enduring popularity is largely a result of his powers as a lyricist. Most of his songs focus on the social and economic issues that govern people’s daily lives and, with an infectious sense of humour and optimism that prevails through all his music, his appeal extends to young and old alike. Bholoja has mesmerized audiences on countless stages and has performed alongside Lokua Kanza; Tony Cox; Steve Newman; Kalid Kuen; Vincent Bucher; Tao Ravao; Hugh Masekela; Oliver Mtukudzi; Ringo Madlingozi; Simphiwe Dana; Gloria Bosman;Selaelo Selota, Tshepo Tsola, Paul Hanmer, Kunle Ayo, Malaika, Freshly Ground, just mention a few. One of Bholoja’s notable performances include the high spirited show he delivered during the Bush Fire Festival; the 2007 Swaziland International Trade Fair at Mavuso Trade Center, Manzini, Swaziland; and at Kippies, South Africa’s acclaimed jazz spot in Newtown, Johannesburg.