AFRO-SOUL star Bothwell “Bekezela” Nkomo has joined the ongoing campaign against the spread of the lethal coronavirus (COVID-19) by roping in 18 other African musicians on a new song titled Phumelela that will be released this Friday on the Bekezela Music YouTube channel.
BY SHARON SIBINDI
The South-Africa based musician — who boasts a collection of awards in his trophy cabinet — roped in Candy Tsamandebele, Liezel Marshal, Zodwa Mabena, Bongane Radebe, Henny C, Innocentia Motong and Thabone from South Africa, Zimbabweans Clive “Mono” Mukundu, Simba CI, Albert Nyathi and Vusa Mkhaya, who is based in Austria. Other featured artistes are Akinwale James and Nonny D (Nigeria), Papy Nsenga (DRC), Khoisa (Botswana) and Lawi (Malawi).
Written by Bekezela, Mgcini Nyoni and Innocentia, among others, the track is being produced by Bekezela alongside Radebe and Thokozani Monare.
Nyoni, who is part of the Bekezela Music administration, said COVID-19 had come at a time when the world was battling a string of other problems including poverty, war, unemployment and other diseases that have posed serious challenges to humanity since time immemorial.
He said given that backdrop, Phumelela was an all-encompassing song designed to bring comfort and consolation to people facing various struggles even beyond COVID-19.
“In light of this situation, which makes COVID-19 one other problem in addition to other existing problems, the song Phumelela even though motivated by the current COVID-19 problem is not specific to the coronavirus,” he said.
In the song, Bekezela rallies humanity to remain strong as that was the only way COVID-19 would be subdued.
“The song speaks to the enduring spirit of human beings and how we will overcome the current problem as we have overcome other problems that have come and gone over the centuries of human existence,” Nyoni said.
He underscored that they would have wanted an even bigger number of artistes but it was impossible to have others — particularly those living far away from recording studios — in light of the national lockdown embargos put in place by most countries to minimise the potential spread of the virulent COVID-19.
“Many other musicians could have been part of the project, but due to the lockdown that is effective in most countries, only those who stay close to studios or have home studios could take part. As this is a legacy project that is meant to outlive the current COVID-19 pandemic, more projects will be done once the lockdown is over,” Nyoni said.
Born in the backwaters of Gwanda, Bekezela has made a mark on the South African music scene with his hit song Bekezela (Patience).
Having left his home country for South Africa, he did several jobs including digging trenches and also working as a waiter, before he hit his purple patch after venturing into music.