Few people in Zimbabwe have heard of him or his music.
His name is Mbongiseni Ngubane, also known as Bholoja.
This son of Swaziland is a truly gifted young and upcoming musician with the potential of becoming an international jazz icon.
Singing mostly in his native Siswati language, this rising star combines a striking multi-layered voice and a fresh, clean guitar style to produce a truly remarkable sound.
Bholoja is Swaziland’s rising symbol of song, art and culture. His greatest inspiration is Swazi tradition and way of life.
He has modernised native Swazi lyrics and music traditions and is fast gaining recognition and respect, expanding his following across Africa and Europe.
Born in 1979, the young musician seeks to ensure that an essential part of African cultural heritage is preserved in this age of globalisation.
His themes touch on the changing global order and the growth challenges that Africa faces today.
Bholoja speaks on behalf of the poor, orphaned, Aids victims and underprivileged while highlighting a message of hope in his music.
His debut album, Swazi Soul is a social narrative that speaks to the very conscience of the listener.
The focus of the album is social and economic issues that affect people’s daily lives. Swazi Soul is a pleasure to listen to. It carries songs such as Africa Unite, Zero to Hero and Indzawo Yami.
Bholoja creates powerful lyrics, adds an infectious sense of humour and optimism that gives his music a universal appeal that touches young and old audiences across the world.
Bholoja’s growing international appeal has seen him sharing the stage with great names in music, including Hugh Masekela, Kunle Ayo, Oliver Mtukudzi, Tshepo Tsola, Simphiwe Dana, Ray Phiri, Steve Newman, Kalid Kuen, Vincent Bucher and Freshly Ground.
The young artist has performed at numerous prestigious concerts, venues and festivals in Africa and Europe.
His performance highlights include Pretoria State Theatre, Standard Bank Joy of Jazz (Johannesburg, 2008), Bushfire Festival (Swaziland), Sun City Resort (South Africa), Moshito Festival (Johannesburg) and the Miriam Makheba tribute concert in France.
Bholoja has also performed at various concerts in France and Germany.
This year, he embarked on a 14-nation tour of the African continent.
Bholoja’s fast accumulating credits and awards speak volumes of his appeal and impact.
He was awarded the 2007 Entertainer of the Year Award (Swaziland National Youth Awards), won best Siswati Album (SATMA awards 2010), was in the top ten of the RFI Musique Best Discovery out of Africa, and was appointed to the Entertainment Committee of the 40/40 National Double Celebration by His Majesty, King Mswati III in August 2008.