By Sindiso Dube in Bulawayo
In the heat of a nostalgic moment as revellers are dancing and singing along to the sounds of the late Dan Tshanda at the Red Café’ koBulawayo on a hot Sunday night, DJ Keitho drops a splash song by an unknown female vocalist, the catchy part of the song is Tirangarirewo Jehovah — party lovers carry on with the vibe.
Who is that lady behind the voice, singing splash in Shona was the question on every music follower’s lips. Then the wheel spinner introduced the song titled Sgcwele Ngamazwe by Khanyi.
Sgcwele Ngamazwe is the title track of Khanyi’s recent album, which carries tracks such as Zitha Zami, Ngowami, Uyalahla and Izolo.
Sgcwele Ngamazwe is a plea to God for mercy and deliverance in adversity In the song she mixes IsiNdebele and Shona. It is the unusual use of Shona that catches the ears of the listener. Splash music is dominant in South Africa and Bulawayo where it was popularised by Dan Tshanda and the Dalom Kids and Khanyi’s song could be the first splash song to have Shona lyrics.
Khanyi, real name Sikhanyisiwe Ndlovu, is a 35-year-old Dan Tshanda protégé who grew up in Matobo. She is now based in South Africa.
“I grew up in Matobo where I listened to splash and disco music. That was the music which dominated in my area,” Khanyi said.
“I moved to South Africa in 2009 in search of greener pastures and while I was there, I started writing my own songs. In 2017, I went to KB Studiosto to find out if I was talented enough to pursue music. I did well and recorded my first album titled Syemakhaya.”
Khanyi revealed that the late Tshanda played a big role in shaping her into the artiste she is now.
“Because my art was heavily influenced by Dan, I looked for him so that he could help me further my career or even sign me under Dalom Music,” she said.
“In 2018, I found Dan and presented my case. He offered to help me, but he couldn’t sign me under his stable.
“I only managed to work with him on one album and I considered it a blessing from God. My wish was to work with him closely throughout my career and also get under his Dalom Music wing, but God thought otherwise by taking him away.
“Dan’s death was a big loss to the music fraternity, especially to splash. He was the godfather of the genre, but to keep his good work alive I’m working on my next album titled Walala Wasala that will be out in November.”
Khanyi bemoaned lack of local support.
“Besides music, I have a full-time job here in South Africa and what led me to coming here was the desire to work with Dan. What I have observed is that South Africans, BaTswana and Namibians have so much support for splash music.
“I hear my song is doing really good in the clubs and shebeens in Zimbabwe. I am very happy and I wish to penetrate my country more and more. I thank everyone, especially the club DJs who have taken it upon themselves to play my music.”
Dalom Music boss, Tshanda passed on at a hospital in Sandton, Johannesburg, South Africa, after suffering heart failure in January.