Mkhulu Mkhatshwa brings awakening to the main stage

It is often said that in order to know where you’re going, you need to know where you come from, i.e. the history of our forbearers. It is through knowing and understanding the route travelled by those before us that we can make sense of the location we find ourselves in today. Our forefathers may not have written books as records of their time on earth or nuggets of wisdom documented in ink from which we can borrow/eat from; but they left their trail in song and symbol. 

These songs and symbols still linger in the atmosphere and those entrusted with safeguarding them have the ability to bring these songs (amahubo) back into time. One such custodian is Mkhulu Mkhatshwa who recently took the Leano stage by storm with his debut offering titled Mkhulu Mkhatshwa Unplugged.

Image by Sfundo Majozi

Amahubo ka Mkhulu speak of the power and purity of the ancestral call; they also tell stories of rejection because of the calling. The healer narrates stories of long journeys taken in search of healing and comfort. Through music Mkhulu brought forth the realization that we are a collective manifestation of the past living in the present to mold the future. Mkhulu’s offering was not just lyrics matched to fitting harmonies, or chants. It was the opening of a pathway to embrace ilizwe lamathongo (the ancestral realm).

The audience could barely remain seated as they were moved by the sounding of the drum, Mkhulu’s distinct voice, and the rattling sound of the aluminum can tops strapped to his legs as he danced (egida) to the rhythm of the drum. To see uMkhulu egida alongside his wife, Gogo Dineo Ndlanzi, and children was a sight to behold; showcasing the beauty of being equally yoked. It truly was a sacred space and the audience was receptive of it.

Amahubo serve as a cultural warehouse from where the ideas for re-emergence or revitalization are derived.

Musa Xulu
Image by Sfundo Majozi

Through his music, Mkhulu is cultivating a culture of awakening, nurturing the newly awakened and paying homage to those who journey with us on the walk of awakening. Amahubo kaMkhulu invoke Spirit, celebrate life’s wins, mourn life’s losses, encourage the weary, and comfort the hurting.

Mkhulu Mkhatshwa is unlocking a new era in music by returning Ntu into abantu so they can embrace isintu and resuscitate ubuntu; and I can’t wait for the world to experience more of him and his craft.

May those from under our feet breathe the warmth of community unto us so that the peace we seek mounts our bodies and sits on the chairs of our hearts, sprinkling love and joy around us all.

Malidoma Some