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Photo by Sabelo Mkhabela.

Get To Know This South African Duo's "Mandela Pop" Music

Radio 123 part of a new wave of South African bands defying all traditional rules and breaking genre boundaries.

Joburg duo Radio 123 (members Nyameko Nkondlwane and Simangaliso Mfula) just released a new EP titled Manga Manga. And oh boy, it's a treat.


The music Radio 123 make isn't easy to categorize—but who cares about labels anyway? The duo call their genre Mandela Pop, because, according to them, it's a sound that reflects the rainbow spectrum that South Africa has become.

On Manga Manga, they blend pop, jazz, funk, rock and even hip-hop. The opening song "Manga Manga," sees Mfula lay vocals over Nkondlwane's trumpet and 808 snares, before live robust drumming takes over changing the song's tempo.

"Manga Manga" is definitive Radio 123, in that you never know what to expect from the duo. Their music is a tapestry of various sounds both modern and nostalgic, and they have a way of blending all these influences into one solid sound that neither sounds forced nor scattered.

For instance, the EP's lead single, "Thando," is equally indebted to Outkast as it is to funk and drum & bass. It's colorful—the perfect soundtrack to the summer.

Lyrically, Manga Manga is easy on the ear, and gets humorous at times. The aptly titled "Thando" talks about how everyone needs love, and shows gratitude to our loved ones.

If you are educated enough to understand IsiZulu and kasi slang, you'll sure get a full experience of what Radio 123 are about—celebrating who they are without defining it or caring if you understand it. What's entertaining is they sound like they are having fun, and that will be propagated to the listener.

Radio 123 is part of the new wave of South African bands who are defying all traditional rules and aren't bounded by genre.

Listen to Manga Manga below, and download it here.

Follow Radio 123 on Facebook and Twitter.

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Get Into Shirazee & Saint Jhn's Highly-Addictive 'Juju'

The new music video follows Shirazee and Saint Jhn to New Orleans.

Shirazee is back with his latest single "Juju."

The new song sees the Benin-born singer-songwriter linking up with none-other-than Saint Jhn for a highly-addictive tune built on afro-fusion beat work. The striking new music video for "Juju," which was directed by Tiara Marei, follows Shirazee and Saint Jhn to New Orleans, Louisiana.

"This one is special to me 'cause the song was recorded at a time I needed to break a love-spell that I felt was put on me by a serious crush of mine [laughs]," Shirazee tells OkayAfrica. "Shooting this video in New Orleans, a city with historical ties to my Benin, was such a privilege and does so much justice to the song and theme.

"[I'm] looking forward to releasing new music this year and the first of two EPs called LOST is on the way and it's exciting," he adds.

For more on him, revisit our interview with Shirazee on his journey, taking risks and going independent. As you remember, Saint Jhn featured on Beyoncé and Wizkid's "Brown Skin Girl," one of our favorite songs last year.

Get into Shirazee and Saint Jhn's "Juju" below.

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