South African musician Bongeziwe Mabandla has today released a new visual for his track “Masiziyekelele”, taken from his acclaimed 2020 album iimini.
The visual was shot in Nirox Scupture Park, situated in South Africa’s Cradle of Humankind in northwest Johannesburg. The Park’s arbors, walkways and hilly backdrop have provided a hushed, exquisite context for the performance of one of Mabandla’s most affecting love songs.
Directed and edited by Tiago Correia-Paulo with Rick Joaquim as DOP, the visual enhances the central call of “Masiziyekelele”, which is for two lovers to let everything go and become one. The crunching of gravel underfoot as Mabandla performs and the sound of the abundant birdlife that inhabits Nirox helps elevate the words (“Let’s let ourselves go/Let’s let ourselves go/Until we are one, we are one/Until we are one, we are one”) to create a mesmerising audio-visual experience.
“This is the first time I have produced a visual for my music, and ‘Masiziyekelele’ is also one of my favourite songs from the album,” says Mabandla of his latest creative endeavour.
“At first, this was going to be a band performance, with everyone playing together, from different locations. But because of the lockdown, it was decided to keep it as an acoustic. I found it very interesting to be playing in part with equipment plugged in. It gives a really different feeling.”
“Masiziyekelele” is the latest in a growing body of visual work accompanying Mabandla’s songs. Together with the likes of “Jikeleza”, “Khangela” and “Zange” it showcases the many ways in which the award-winning artist’s music can be presented.
The visual for “Masiziyekelele” is also the most recent manifestation of the artist’s collaborative work with both Correia-Paulo, who produced iimini, and the multi-award winning Joaquim. The DOP shot Mabandla’s “Bawo Wam”, which was nominated for Music Video of The Year at the 2019 South African Music Awards, as well as “Jikeleza”.
Mabandla released his third album iimini in March 2020, notching up 8 million streams and counting since then. The album quickly reached number 1 on iTunes South Africa and also earned top 10 positions on iTunes charts the R&B/Soul chart in France, Netherlands, Germany, Finland, Portugal, Spain, Switzerland, Austria, and Botswana and top 100 positions in the UK, US and Norway and top 100 positions in +20 countries.
Over the past year, the 12-track album earned critical acclaim, has been included on a number of best-of-2020 lists – including by American Songwriter – and earned notable praise from a number of Mabandla’s musical peers in the global artistic community, including Sam Smith (“Out of this universe! One of the most beautiful things I’ve ever heard”), Florence Pugh (“Oh my goodness! Beautiful.”) and Mumford & Sons’ Winston Marshall (“Exceptional!”).