GQ, Inkabi Zezwe not spinning on a hamster wheel

Afro Pop Soul duo named Inkabi Zezwe

Bromance: the complicated relationship shared between two straight guys. It describes one of the highest levels of friendship that two guys can have without being gay; thus, according to the Urban Dictionary.

In South Africa — this colossal tight, not to be mistook vibrant emotive closeness and homosocial male bonding, involving two high profile berceuse supreme beings feeding off each other’s sprightliness; last 12-month mustered the hardly isolated birth of Afro Pop Soul duo named Inkabi Zezwe.

A stretch of the wake of Sjava a rider of the African Trap as well as Afro-soul wave, and Big Zulu a knocker who fluxes Maskandi as well as Hip-Hop, lief teaming up with global recording troupe Warner Music Africa (WMA); on a one-time fusion studio album whelped in May of this year titled — with doggedness, blueprint, and power — ‘Ukhamba’.

From acquiring a standing ovation to being met with intimate garments thrown and twined on stage by an abutting pistillate social group — in explicit rock star manner; what commenced as a “sold-out” event at the Sunbet Arena last June, was followed by a jocund ambient liaison with rooters at Grand Arena that got Sjava and Big Zulu (Inkabi Zezwe) pulling their big boys pants up at The Big Top Arena, before Hollywoodbets Kings Park Stadium, at long last, detected its racket in September — to culminate the high hopped-up four city tour!

Crisscrossing South African stages, swag dripping in a panache capsule collection; explored before this union with trend clothing brand Butan, is a discovered levity and warmth that the chart topping certified (3x) platinum love ditty — ‘Umbayimbayi’ — gazed over Mzansi, after its March release.

A fit championing a loaded, bulgy and aeriform soundscape herald to a collaborative that would play up the IsiZulu culture, the hills of Bergville, and a lilting potpourri of trills, keys, chords, hooks, croons and causerie — looped on massively rich tapestry bars. A pour forth that is shaping the course of a historiographer’s text file; albeit severely diluted, to such a degree that it had to take a lot of order of magnitude as well as calibre to notch change the link to transmit torque and stiffly set foot on the automatic as well as independent air brake systems of Inkabi Zezwe’s hurrying gravy train!

As the fruits of the musicians’ labour crystallise, having momentously hijacked the heaving of the duo’s speedometer; anyone but GQ an international monthly men’s fashion magazine that was started as a trade publication in New York City (1931) and became available to the general public in 1957 — gave Sjava and Big Zulu a moment to blink! Handsomely rewarding Inkabi Zezwe with one of four exclusive covers for its South African edition’s December/January 2024 Entertainment Issue.

The magazine formerly known as Gentleman’s Quarterly and Apparel Arts before rebranding to GQ in 1967; focuses on fashion, style, as well as culture for men. As luck would have it; articles on food, flicks, fitness, sex, euphony, travel, celebrities’ sports, technology, and books are also enlisted. Hence, for Inkabi Zezwe; it had to be a bugle call for both its chanted prowess and sharp expressive style!

This pair from KwaZulu-Natal has had a stellar 2023 period of time of triumphs, hardening its topographic point as a paramount force in the amusement industry. While GQ South Africa, which turns 25 years next 12-month, ushers the neonate era; the in vogue issue delves into the artists’ bonzer trip, from modest beginnings in Bergville to the priceless life lessons learned along the way.

The prominent capsule collection by Butan, ponders the unlined coalition of tonal pattern and fashion, capturing the gist of Inkabi Zezwe’s unparalleled style. The article diagnoses the brainchild behind the quislingism, sloughing light on the symbiotic relationship between Butan and Inkabi Zezwe. All about culture, dash, prowess and tradition; Molife Kumona — Editor-in-Chief of GQ — tones up his satiny swan in an agreeably homespun grimace.

“We are thrilled to have Inkabi Zezwe as one of the cover stars for our Entertainment Issue this December. Their achievements and the collaboration with Butan represent the epitome of talent and style that our readers admire,” Kumona said.

Butan, the streetwear brand deeply rooted in Mzansi’s culture and heritage, stands as a pivotal force behind the partnership. Deriving inspiration from the plangency of South African street life; it incorporates elements of chronicle, art, and melody into its design. Buyi Msithini — Head of Marketing at Butan — pitches this kind-looking passage with a breath of fresh air. 

“The brand’s mission is to tell authentic African stories through its clothing, bridging the gap between tradition and modernity. Over the years, Butan has become a prominent voice in Africa’s streetwear scene, using its garments as canvases to express narratives and emotions while celebrating the resilience and creativity of South African urban culture,” Msithini said.

Permitting memories of the roasting cymbal to altogether flood back, the GQ South Africa Men of the Year event — a hallmark juncture in accrediting excellence — honoured Inkabi Zezwe for its schrittmacher ceiling smashing contributions to the ethnic scenery, through its eclat canon craft ‘Ukhamba’.

Not only was their birdcall sculpt celebrated as a Culture Game Changer of the year, the ‘Sayona’ opus lords received the highest laurels for Musician of the Year — as a cherry on top! Taking center stage, Sjava — standing for the collective — graciously accepted the gongs; expressing profound gratitude for the recognition and acknowledging the honour of being well-thought-of in such prestigious spaces.

As the advent of computational media technologies take a counterrevolutionary stunts on traditional media; the sustainability of contemporaneity scrolling in this digital age and the conventional flipping of pages habitual to readers — are religiously extolling zesty peeps into this immersive gustatory perception of both worlds, approached with special relish in the GQ Entertainment Issue!

Interestingly snatching the viewers’ essence, the duo has also been making waves with its documentary series. Expertly shot by Lacuna Creative Studios; ‘Inkabi Zezwe: The Making of Ukhamba’ premiered last month on SABC 1 — a South African public television network operated by the South African Broadcasting Corporation, which carries programming in English and Nguni.

Of honey bees propensity; Sjava and Big Zulu continue to make arguably the highest pitch of their buzz, on what has turned out to be one of the busiest work of art in a calendar year in Mzansi — as the fall of the 2023 time period wields an e›er snug squeeze to its heavier-than-air tail end. And to grip its sizable wings outward, once airborne, and seldom flap; who would straight-from-the-shoulder begrudge Inkabi Zezwe for — with kid gloves — looking at the whole Grammy glory escorted by the cones in the eagle’s foveae?

  •  Grant Moyo is a prolific writer, innovative media personality, entrepreneur and a creative artist who is passionate about using his creative mind for the betterment of society.  Follow him on X: @TotemGrant


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