Thandiswa Mazwai. Picture: Supplied

Thandiswa Mazwai is preparing to headline The Belede Experience on Saturday, March 4, which is the second installment of the Kaya FM and Bassline Live Present at The Lyric Theatre, Gold Reef City. The series was launched in February by world-renowned acapella group, The Soil.

Mazwai has been riding the wave of her stellar 2016 release, Belede, which has been receiving rave reviews from critics and fans alike.

During our brief chat in the lead up to the showcase, Mazwai explained how she came to be involved in the new series: “I was approached by Bassline to come present my new works in a series they have with Kaya FM. 

Both Kaya and the Bassline have been a pivotal part of my career in Johannesburg so I jumped at the opportunity to do something with them again. Makwande.”

Mazwai has been taken aback by the positive response to Belede. “I absolutely did not expect this response,” she said. “In fact I had spent much of the past few years feeling very unsure about my gift. 

Creating is quite precarious work and you can never know what it will yield. I am blessed to have the kind of support I have from those who listen to my music. This being a jazz album, I never expected the kind response it is getting.”

Mazwai recently featured on CNN’s African Voices where she took the international news channel on a musical journey that involved them visiting her childhood neighbourhood in Pimville, Soweto. 

“We have had a lot of interests from large news agencies, like CNN & BBC, as well as a lot of international radio interest,” she explains of the feature. “It might have something to do with the great music, but I also suspect my amazing publicist Maria McCloy has been on the grind. I am generally very media shy and prefer to let the music speak for itself or, at the very least, allow it to travel to spaces I could never have imagined. 

Shooting African voices was an immense honour because of the caliber of Africans that have been featured on the show. I am eternally grateful for all your support, particularly all the local media and radio. They say, ‘Umuntu ngumuntu ngabantu’ and my experience has proven this to be true. In the words of Brenda Fassie the great, ‘Thank you my Africa. I wouldn't be what I am without you.''

Apart from this weekend’s Belede Experience, Mazwai is going to be on the road quite a bit, where she’ll be playing at some major festivals with both her jazz band and the festival band that she’s performed with over the past 10 years.

At The Belede Experience, Mazwai will be joined by jazz trio Herbie Tsoaeli (double bass), Nduduzo Makhathini (piano) and Ayanda Sikade (drums), artists whose work on the album she attributes for its success. “Whenever I get on any stage I try to create a sacred space in which we the musicians and the audience can be in fellowship and blessed by the power that is music.” It promises to be a special occasion.

* Tickets range from R200 – R400 and are available now at Computicket.