Johannesburg - After a two-year hiatus, Bassline Live brings back yet another star to local music lovers.
Nakhane, a South African-born and London-based musician, will rock the stage on Saturday at Constitutional Hill at the I AM LIVE music show, which forms part of the Bassline Live Festival series.
Nakhane says performing is a significant part of his existence, and that he has faced the daunting challenge of not being able to perform in the country since the Covid-19 pandemic outbreak in early 2020. He said he was forced to reckon with who he was outside of being a performer while adapting to the new norm during the lockdown.
Being unable to perform on any South African stage and being away from his loved ones has taken its toll on him, he says, especially as someone who is living with mental illness — the love of friends, his partner, and pets and his creative nature are what have kept him alive.
The musician said he took photographic self-portraits to keep his creative side in check, and that helped him to escape the loneliness of the lockdown. He said a self-portrait he holds dear is the one he took shortly after his father’s passing.
“There is a self-portrait I took a day or two after my father passed away. I had just shaved my head to begin the mourning process since I could not come home to join my mom and sisters to mourn him,” he said.
When the Bassline team shared their idea with him, Nakhane could not contain his excitement at the opportunity to perform on South African soil. He has said that he is looking forward to serenading his countrymen in song after being away that long.
"The last time I was home was just before the pandemic. It has been a while. I miss South Africa's energy,” Nakhane said.
While the festival is in celebration of Africa Month, for Nakhane, the event can be seen as a homecoming celebration.
Nakhane, born in Alice, a small town in the Eastern Cape, says performing in South Africa is always a reminder of who he is and where his roots lie.
“South Africa is my home. I am who I am today because of this country. I will always honour that,” Nakhane said.
The South African music industry was one of the sectors impacted by the outbreak. Artists resorted to virtual events to stay afloat. Nakhane says he is looking forward to the energy of live performances after to virtual shows.
“There is something sensual and ritualistic about watching a performance live,” Nakhane said.
The musician says he has missed the wonderful atmosphere of live performances. That is what he wants to give the audience on Saturday. Nakhane says he knows the crowd will reciprocate the energy he intends to dish out.
“I love how South Africans are not afraid to express joy in public. In certain countries, people would baulk at how demonstrative we are. I think our openness to laughter and a sense of humour has helped us stay resilient,” he said.
The award-winning and multi-talented Nakhane, one of the most culturally significant artists to be developed in Africa, will share the stage with household names, including Sun-El Musician, Bongeziwe Mabandla, Ms Party, and Aurus.
Paige Holmes of Bassline Live says the line-up of the award-winning artists reflects inclusivity and diversity.
“The festival is set to be a day of music and celebration of our humanity, resilience, and overall incredible creativity and talent that our beautiful African Continent births,” Holmes said.
She says that it is an honour for Bassline Live to collaborate with Nakhane for the I AM LIVE show. Holmes says Nakhane, as a musician, brings out magic on stage whenever he performs, which is why people adore him.
“Nakhane is truly one of the most extraordinary talents we have ever worked with,” Holmes said.