Horses peacefully graze among rolling hills, as a massive shoe thuds to the ground and a gigantic Bongeziwe Mabandla begins to stride through the Eastern Cape. This, as the musician puts it, is Bongeziwe in Bongeziwe land – a left-field, slightly obscure visual representation of his latest single, ‘Mangaliso’.
Directed by Warwick Allan, who also created the concept, the video is something of an exploration of the unusual – an abstract ode to the song itself. While the thematic aspect of the song revolves around experiencing the unexpected coupled with an out-of-this-world feeling which is largely indescribable, the video is about the thought of being something bigger than what you are.
Shot on Mabandla’s home turf in the Eastern Cape, which he cites as his greatest inspiration, sweeping green landscapes dominate the screen as locations hop from the Underberg, to Grootvlei, Harrismith, Villiers and Heidelberg.
The song itself is built on a light, pattering electro backbone, solidified with an offbeat rhythm line and under-towed by subtle acoustic guitar. Mabandla’s vocals are familiar and comfortable. This is a man who has carved out a unique niche in the vastly populated local music scene and is occupying it effortlessly. Expertly straddling the line between traditional African music and modern electronic influences, his sound is richly textured in its simplicity.
Cosmos flowers sway in the wind as Mabandla strides through the countryside, through wheat fields and balanced along mountaintops. He plucks the wires of an electricity line like guitar strings, and kneels to uproot a cell phone tower as though it is a weed. Surreal aerial shots of sweeping mountain ranges and the rolling ocean counter Mabandla perched on a bridge, guitar in hand.
Stripped down to the bare minimum at times, the melody builds back up upon itself at a cruising pace, laced in woody percussion and layered in traditional isiXhosa harmonies.
A strange sort of creativity soaks this offering as Mabandla treads the line of the ordinary and extraordinary expertly. Watch the video below.
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