The Bhacasoul Experience by Joliza Magayiyana

Joliza Magayiyana is a singer-songwriter from Gqeberha who brings awakening through the revival of folktales told through African song. Joliza has spent years honing his craft to produce his Bhacasoul sound which integrates his Bhaca heritage sounds, igwijo and contemporary musical elements. The musician recently brought The Bhacasoul Experience, in partnership with Bees on the Couch, to the Leano stage for the first time, and it was absolutely astounding.

From the stage setup to the band’s outfits; it was evident that the audience was in for a captivating show. Joliza moved young and old alike with his voice, sound, and relatable lyrical content which are both healing and liberating. He started the experience with a song that speaks about the pursuit of dreams in the face of adversity, asking for God’s light and protection through the journey.

The singer’s melodic chanting in the song Uyingcuka then sent shivers down the spines of the audience. Derived from the Xhosa idiom, ingcuka eyambhethe ufele lwegusha (a wolf in sheep’s clothing), here the singer speaks about a person who plots your demise (metaphorically) all the while pretending to be your friend.

IG: @jolizabhacasoul

Influences of reggae shone through in the song Ndithwale Hashe Lam (ndithunyiwe Niniva). Members of the audience were found bopping their heads to the song, perhaps in contemplation of all the trials and tribulations they have encountered as they continue to journey to where they have been called (Niniva). Siyamthanda Nondlwana blew the audience away in the second verse of the song with her rich soulful tone, leaving some teary-eyed.

True to Joliza‘s style of incorporating indigenous elements to his craft, the second set kicked off with igwijo noMxentso (traditional dancing). The receptive audience was not to be left behind as they joined in the festivities before traditional folk songstress Ntunja took them to KwaZulu, in song.

A noteworthy moment from the evening was Ntsika Ngxanga pointing to Joliza as he sang the words nguye ozakuphilis’isizwe (a)pholis’ilizwe. This gesture and these words resonated with Joliza so much that he couldn’t help but be overcome with emotion, barely keeping the tears at bay. Having worked so hard to hone his craft and taken a leap of faith to present The Bhacasoul Experience for the first time in Gauteng, the nod of acknowledgement from an industry elder must have felt surreal.

Any moment where your community acknowledges your gift is both magical and overwhelming in that it dispels the doubt lingering in your mind, soothes the aches of the journey, and envelopes you in the warmth of belonging. I, for one, am thankful that Joliza got to experience this moment because in this age of communal awakening, the presence of artists like him is instrumental in getting us to the desired destination. His Bhacasoul sound reminds our feet of the paths travelled by our forebears while his lyrics reflect our hopes, dreams and realities.

The quality, authenticity, and energy displayed by Joliza Magayiyana and his band on the Leano stage is one that needs to be experienced by all, at least once.