Siphokazi’s Timeless Music Encounter

The concept or state of being “Timeless” is layered, more over in a music sense where timeless can refer to the ability of a sound or song to carry over across eras and generations but also from a technical perspective – the ability of the music, be it lyrically or sonically, to maintain a sense of relevance after the passage of time.

I have spoken before of how in the music world, the word classic makes reference to time and reception as factors and the word anthem on the other hand refers more to relevance and representation. And as such deeming a record as a classic is subjective, because music tastes and opinions differ. Contrarily, anthems are arguably less subjective but rather self-elected in nature. Not all classics are anthems and not all anthems are classics – subjective, remember.

Siphokazi has over the span of her undeniably successful career created timeless music. She has had the ability to make songs that have traveled through generations and maintained enough popularity to be considered classics while also continuing to act as reference in certain contexts which can be considered as anthems.

On Saturday the 11th of November 2023 at the South African State Theatre, Siphokazi presented us the opportunity to revisit and relive some of her timeless music but also to recap on her career thus far and that which has stood out and been significant for her.

In this gathering, she shared with us music from the now 15 year old, ever so significant album, Ubuntu Bam, amongst many other tunes from her other albums along the way, including those from her eponymously named album. During intervals and song breaks, Siphokazi talked us through the intention and meaning behind the songs she wrote.

The show was hosted by media personality Sipho Alphi Mkhwanazi who besides going a good job at rallying the crowd and getting them as comfortable as possible was also assigned the task at the midway point of the show to chat briefly to Siphokazi on her journey thus far and the significance of this show – here, amongst other things, they touched on as described by Siphokazi herself, “the unavoidable revelation of God and the Gospel in her music.”

Dazzled in custom made garments, Siphokazi’s brilliance and range was in full display on stage, particularly when she brought on guitarist and musician Billy Monama to perform some Mirriam Makeba written songs often performed as part of Billy’s Grazroots Project. She made the songs her own and her voice while singing them matched the love and appreciation for them which she had described to us prior. Her backing vocalists were in essence stars themselves, they sang backing as good as the recording of the songs years prior – with seasoned vocalist Jonny Vilakazi taking lead (brilliantly so) on one of the songs.

Siphokazi took us on a journey, she made us feel seen even though we were there for her, she continuously revealed her love for us, she reminded us of the love from the most high and encouraged the reciprocation of such.

Thank you Siphokazi, both you and your music are timeless, enkosi siyabulela!