Video

uSanele Shares His Debut Music Video, 'Amabhodlela,' Featuring Mashayabhuqe KaMamba

South African music video vet Director Kit on the making of uSanele's "Amabhodlela" visuals featuring Mashayabhuqe KaMamba.

uSanele’s latest single, “Amabhodlela,” is a party song that speaks rather eloquently about Jozi club culture. The track features Digital Maskandi pioneer Mashayabhuqe KaMamba and was released back in April with some dope artwork by Cape Town-based art student Dada Khanyisa. uSanele, who moonlights as Okayafrica’s Brand Manager, switches between Zulu and English as he talks about his life and experiences through the eyes of “bottle popping music lovers” (Amabhodlela translates to “bottles” in Zulu).


True to word and name, the song bangs. But its visuals, which the rapper shared on Friday, aren’t the typical turn-up fare. Joburg-based music video vet, Director Kit, tells me she thought it would be cool to shoot a video that doesn’t look like the song. She also wanted to create something that would live on the internet––or actual art––instead of conforming to South African television norms.

But first and foremost the director wanted to ensure uSanele’s personal style would stand out. After all, this was his first music video. The concept was “based around trying to make him stand out and come out as his own artist,” she tells me over the phone. “Sanele’s whole style is very vernac and street.” Director Kit wanted to play on that.

In the video you’ll notice bottles, but not the kind uSanele’s rapping about. According to the director it’s a play on milk bottles. “The whole thing about milk in Xhosa and Zulu is when you’re saying she’s so pretty you’re saying ‘she looks like she washed in milk.’”

“How people are making music videos, there’s nothing at all that’s new. Everything you see has already been done. A lot of artists aren’t making creative choices,” concludes Director Kit. “It would be really great to see everyone making very distinct creative choices.”

Music
Photo by Don Paulsen/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

Hugh Masekela's New York City Legacy

A look back at the South African legend's time in New York City and his enduring presence in the Big Apple.

In Questlove's magnificent documentary, Summer of Soul, he captures a forgotten part of Black American music history. But in telling the tale of the 1969 Harlem Cultural Festival, the longtime musician and first-time filmmaker also captures a part of lost South African music history too.

Among the line-up of blossoming all-stars who played the Harlem festival, from a 19-year-old Stevie Wonder to a transcendent Mavis Staples, was a young Hugh Masekela. 30 years old at the time, he was riding the wave of success that came from releasing Grazing in the Grass the year before. To watch Masekela in that moment on that stage is to see him at the height of his time in New York City — a firecracker musician who entertained his audiences as much as he educated them about the political situation in his home country of South Africa.

The legacy Masekela sowed in New York City during the 1960s remains in the walls of the venues where he played, and in the dust of those that are no longer standing. It's in the records he made in studios and jazz clubs, and on the Manhattan streets where he once posed with a giant stuffed zebra for an album cover. It's a legacy that still lives on in tangible form, too, in the Hugh Masekela Heritage Scholarship at the Manhattan School of Music.

The school is the place where Masekela received his education and met some of the people that would go on to be life-long bandmates and friends, from Larry Willis (who, as the story goes, Masekela convinced to give up opera for piano) to Morris Goldberg, Herbie Hancock and Stewart Levine, "his brother and musical compadre," as Mabusha Masekela, Bra Hugh's nephew says.

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