Last year, while Lwazilubanzi Mthembu was in Berlin for the DExZA exchange programme, she and Olad Aden (a kickass film-maker and the DExZA German project manager) found time to make magic.
Qhakaza Mthembu: Your brand new music video has dropped. Tell us more about it? (How did the idea come about and who did you work with)
Lwazi Mthembu: Its hella exciting really. This video is for a song I wrote with Itai Hakim just chilling in my kitchen one day, and he played a kick ass tune on the sginci (as he does) and the good Lord channelled some reflection upon me. As exciting as the whole thing is, what the song is about is actually quite tragic and its message haunts me and my choice and my responses, every day. After having a chat with Olad Aden about it, he loved it and when I went down (or up, whatever really) to Germany, he offered to share all his brilliance with little old me to make it great.
QM: What were the most challenging and most exciting elements of recording the video?
LM:Technology is always a challenge but I’m an actress so everything else was just one great big thrill.
QM: The music may be an awesome jam, but like you say the song is ‘actually quite tragic’. Why you chose to write it in this way?
LM:Well … i-life ibigger than us yazi … *deep sigh*
As I said earlier, it came from a reflective space really. I had been affected by 2 rapes in the same year and I was just questioning my own actions and inactions in relation to them both, and I was hurt by how close this monstrosity is to all of us, how (like in Ntozake Shanges play) the rapist doesn’t have to be a stranger to be a rapists, how sometimes he is, a stranger, violating another strangers body. How strange it all is really, and it eats at me all the time, how women are never safe, not eating ice cream, not laughing, not loving, not knowing, never, ever safe.
QM: A little birdie told me you were in studio last year, can we expect a young album out soon?
LM:Patience little grasshopper, I’m building Rome here in my voice box.
QM: Your Instagram tells us you’ve been on the road with some pretty cool people. What is Operation Khanyisa and how has it been working with the likes of Modise Sekgothe and Israel Makoe?
LM:Operation Khanyisa is an industrial theatre piece commissioned by Eskom to teach ordinary South Africans about electricity, rights, and dangers. We’ve been on the road since October last year and now taking a break while Khanyisa is rebranding.
Actors are phenomenal people, the journey has been many things but regrettable, never. Being on tour and stuck in a Quantum for most of your days of 7 months will teach you a whole lot about people. I rate it’s like marriage, you cannot hide your true self for too long, often you stand naked before people just hoping they won’t make your pain or your awkwardness a thing. It’s beautiful really, a boot camp in human behaviour, survival and patience.
QM: The late Joe Mafela’s son is part of that cast so news of his father’s passing hit the team quite hard. As a young actor who grew up watching this legend, what should history books be saying of this man, his work and his legacy?
LM:That he was my dad!!! Kwaaaaa ha ha ha
It’s funny really, cause weeks before he passed I was telling Jimmy (his son) that Ntate Joe Mafela looks like my dad and growing I always convinced myself that he was my dad because I saw him more often them my own dad. But apart from that. Ntate Joe Mafela is one of the few artists who taught me that you don’t have to be a total mess to be epic, it is possible to love your family well, chase impossible dreams and slay. Black child you can have it all, with all its strife, but all you’ll have.
QM: You are also in the process of developing a film. Please tell us more, what is the film about, who is involved and how is the process going?
LM:Shooooooo babes. All I can say is …. URBAN SCREW STUDIOS!!! But I am doing some other cool thang involving film development that I cannot exactly disclose at the moment, but it’s another one of my dreams that I get to the the almighty for.
QM: You are clearly a woman of many talents. What would the ideal career/life look like for you?
LM:Shoooooo babes…what a great question. So, I‘ve been thinking about this myself you know and I have no title for it but I would definitely be acting, live music-ing, lecturing, project managing, being a great mom, eating without getting fat, exercising without getting, advocating for transformation of the girl child and people in townships, being an entrepreneur and all round legendary artist.
QM: So what’s next for Lwazilubanzi Mthembu?
LM:I’m just ready to be a vessel of God in the transformation of our country, our economy and its people. I am waiting for the good Lord to take me to the next great height, but I am shooting my next music video and rocking the plus size model world!
Flashback to one of Lwazi’s performances in Berlin, Germany