KhoiSan wouldn’t ‘Suffocate’ under lockdown

The duo will instead be releasing an EP with amapiano group, MFR Souls, and have been working with 18 artists from other parts of Africa to produce an aptly named song “Phumelela” that salutes the resilience of the human spirit. GOSEGO MOTSUMI reports

Musical duo KhoiSan has been hitting all the right notes under lockdown and their hard work will finally pay off with the release of their untitled debut album at a date to be announced, as well as an international collaboration and an EP release up their sleeve, Time Out has established.

Signed under Roc Lefatshe Records, the KhoiSan duo of Oratile Kofa and Thabang Rasefako have been working tirelessly to dish up their highly anticipated album with singles that are currently dominating local airwaves.

In an interview, the Executive Producer at Roc Lefatshe Records, Suffocate, said the Coronavirus had postponed the release date of the album that he described as completed, submitted, approved and awaiting publishers for digital distribution. The stable will also be releasing the first music video of the song, “Sethubege,” in the next two weeks.

“We decided to stay together and move the studio to my house during lockdown in order to continue working,” said Suffocate. “We managed to complete the 15-track album that is now ready. We are still struggling to give it a title because there are so many hits in this upcoming project.”

According to one of KhoiSan’s leading vocalists, Thabang Rasefako, the new album will offer different sound variations to cater for people from all walks of life. “People already know our sound, hence we have given this new project a tweak so we cater for different tastes. It will not be boring or uptight,” Rasefako said.

Determined that they would not suffocate under lockdown, they also managed to connect and collaborate with 18 international artists from other parts of Africa virtually to produce the song “Phumelela,” which is owned by Zimbabwean artist Bekezela Nkomo. The track is in response to the Coronavirus that is currently wreaking havoc on livelihoods across the world.

Released on 1st May 2020 on the Bekezela Music Youtube channel, “Phumelela” speaks to the resilience of the human spirit and how humanity will overcome COVID-19 in the same way that it has overcome other afflictions over the centuries.

The pandemic has come at a time when the world is facing multiple other problems that include poverty, war, unemployment, and other diseases that have afflicted humanity since time immemorial. The song “Phumelela,” though inspired by COVID-19, is not exclusively relevant to this particular issue.

Bekezela said: “Many other musicians could have been a part of the project, but only those who live near studios or have home studios could take part because of lockdowns everywhere. Because this is a legacy project that is meant to outlive COVID-19 pandemic, more projects will follow.”

In more projects, KhoiSan will be releasing an EP (Extended Play Record) with amapiano group, MFR Souls, in the next two weeks. MFR Soul is a South African two-member group of Tumelo Nedondwe and Tumelo Mabe, the “Love You Tonight” hitmakers. Their hit single was released in October last year and has more than 3.8 million views to-date.

“This is a huge milestone for KhoiSan because they have accumulated a million views on their online content,” Sufocate noted. “They work with music heavyweights like DJ Maphorisa and we are humbled by that. We hope this opportunity will open every door that we have been trying to unlock.”

Suffocate admits that even though they have been able to do much to boost spirits through the magic of song, they were financially crippled by the lockdown because gigs and tours were cancelled. Just before the lockdown, their hit single, “Sethubege,” was starting to top charts in media platforms.

“We were just about to bag more gigs when everything was shut down,” he said. “We would have made more endorsements. I estimate that we lost 13 gigs in the month of lockdown. We used to perform eight gigs in a day.”