Sands. Picture: Supplied

Putting the Kingdom of eSwatini (formerly Swaziland) on the map one single at a time is Sandizo Matsebula’s mission. The Swazi-born and bred artist, known by his stage name Sands, is planning a southern African tour.

Sands has been celebrated from all corners of the country after his rise to fame while he was a duo with Swazi hip-hop poet Qibho on the track Ntfombatana Lenhle.

He said the transition from being a duo and doing collaborations to becoming a solo artist has been growth in itself.

He made a name for himself in 2015 when his song Vuma was named the Best Radio Song of 2015 in eSwatini for the National Arts and Culture Awards (NACA) and also the male artist of the year.

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Dubbed as Swaziland’s biggest musical export, Sands said it was a huge thing to be embraced by the Swazi nation. “I am so humbled to tell you the truth. I hope I stay on top of the game for the longest time. Exporting is about touching base in other countries, and there are places that don’t know Swaziland.

“Most people listen to a song and have no idea where the song is from. They are still surprised. That makes me feel like I am representing the king when I am outside, which is great because you become the face of the country. I am totally enjoying the experience.”

The Tigi hitmaker has been working on releasing a new music video called Woza Woza, which was part of his album Sands of Time, and other new singles.

The 27-year-old public relations graduate told The Star how he managed to break out and cross borders.

“The plan was to spread my music in Swaziland and then move out, finish South Africa and move out. The world is massive. It’s basically placement and positioning. If you’re done with one country, you need to move to the next,” he said.

Celebrating Youth Month, he said that as young people there were some challenges in the industry and he was worried about the future generations to come.

“You can’t really define it only in the industry itself, but can say that the youth of today go with the wind. We are getting lost and are not in tune with who we are. The youth of today would rather go out and sing trap than mbaqanga,” said the singer and songwriter.

“If the youth do not know their history, then how will they be able to shape the future,” he said.

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The Star