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Cinematic video for “soze” signals exciting new path for Bongeziwe Mabandla’s expansive creative gifts

The video for “soze”, one of the tracks off Bongeziwe Mabandla’s acclaimed album amaXesha, signals an additional – and growing – path for Bongeziwe Mabandla’s expansive creative gifts.

Far more than a simply a music video, “Umntwana Ongaphakathi” (The Child Inside) is built around an emotionally driven narrative created by International Emmy-nominated director and storyteller, Zee Ntuli – and brings together two South African creatives who embody excellence. 

With “soze” providing the captivating soundtrack, viewers are immersed in a journey of self-discovery and healing that chronicles the poignant story of the lead character, Khumbula (played by Mabandla). Set within the raw confines of a derelict home and a murky tavern, “Umntwana Ongaphakathi” unearths the tumultuous relationship between Khumbula and the tangible representation of his inner child, played by Kaabo Mokhine. 

The collaboration between Mabandla and Ntuli was a journey spanning several months, and reflects a commitment by both artists to convey – with music and visuals – an introspective journey that will resonate with audiences on a deeply personal level.

“I have to say that I’ve been very lucky to get this opportunity to work with such a great artist and friend,” says Mabandla of the collaboration. “Zee and I have been trying to work on visuals for years and it’s evident now why that was worth the wait. Creating a visual for one of my favourite songs off Amaxhesa was not going to be an easy task but, after our first meeting, we knew we had found common ground in artistic direction. The amount of passion that went into the visual is unmatched. This is my first video on such a huge scale and I’m truly filled with joy to finally get here.”

 “Umntwana Ongaphakathi” is, says Ntuli, an “artistic manifestation of my core belief: the pursuit of beauty within the abyss of darkness, a poetic excavation of our pains and fears to find the dormant beauty”.

The video took as its starting point “soze’s” lyrics which are about staying in the moment with somebody, and acknowledging them in the now. “It’s about a connection that lasts beyond the physical; it carries the message that even when I am no longer around I will always have this love for you,” says Mabandla.

Embodying this is the character of Khumbula. Says Mabandla: “I love the whole story of the visual and also that I get to play a character who is dealing with his life struggles. I have wanted to get more into acting so this was an experience I had been waiting for. Playing a character that is dealing with his inner child is something I feel I relate to as a person and I know that so many people are going to connect with it as well.”

Playing Khumbula is the second time that Mabandla has taken on an acting role in recent times. He was part of an ensemble cast in the film Augure directed by Belgian-Congolese director Baloji Tshiani that was selected in the “Un Certain Regard” category at the 76th Cannes Film Festival. Shot between Belgium and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), with a cast that also includes Belgians Marc Zinga and Lucie Debay, Augure won the New Voices Award at Cannes, marking a significant victory for an African film 

For Mabandla, the opportunity to act in a video for a song of his own is something he’s grateful for. “I want to thank everyone who worked on this video with us. It’s a complete dream come true and something I will never forget.”

About Zee Ntuli

Zee Ntuli straddles different worlds. His complex, diverse and unique upbringing has exposed him to a wide gamut of cultures, experiences and influences. As a storyteller, writer and director, he draws on this unique perspective to craft distinct and captivating work that explores the human condition in an honest and raw fashion. His work centres around identity, belonging and socio-political dynamics. His most recent work was as lead director on

Reyka, an International Emmy nominated crime thriller series starring Iain Glen and Kim Engelbrecht. Zee was awarded Best Achievement in Directing for a TV Drama at the 2022 SAFTA’s for his work on the series. Reyka opened the Monte Carlo Television Festival, was chosen by Variety as one of the 10 buzziest shows hitting MipTV and has been broadcast in over 80 territories worldwide.Zee’s feature film and shorts have screened in Cannes; BFI London Film Festival; Clermont-Ferrand International Short Film Festival; New York International Film Festival; Fantastic Fest; Hong Kong International Film Festival; SHNIT; Internationale Kurzfilmtage Winterthur; DIFF, amongst others. His feature film Hard To Get was the first South African feature film to secure a US Netflix deal. Zee has also directed various award winning commercials. Most notably, his projects have scooped Cannes Gold, Silver and Bronze lions, as well as South Africa’s first Glass lion, for BlameNoMore, a hard hitting campaign, initiated by Hype Magazine and Tears Foundation, aimed changing the narrative for sexual abuse victims. Zee has an intense passion and love for storytelling and cinema. He undertakes the filmmaking process with a collaborative, passionate yet gentle approach. He is equal parts focused on the human and the aesthetic, and loves nothing more than delving into character and psychology while developing a symbiotic stylistic approach.