Everybody loves “Nomvula”. It’s the smooth hit track by Nkosinathi Mankayi (popularly known as Nathi) that helped his album, Buyel’Ekhaya, go double platinum within a few months of its release. We caught up with the singer to talk about his growing up in Mthatha, his recent rise to fame and turning over a new leaf after serving a prison sentence.
As told to Anam Joseph
I grew up in a small village called McClear in Mthatha
It was a family of six children, raised by a single mother, and I would describe it as a very happy childhood. Growing up in a musical family, it was inevitable that I would be a singer. My mother is the only person who gave me strength and encouraged me to never give up.
My mother inspired most of my songs, she supported me when I went to jail
I went to jail because of the circumstances I grew up under. There are things that I wanted as a kid but couldn’t get because of circumstances. For instance, if we needed shoes we could only afford to buy for one child. In “Buyel’Ekhaya” [the title song of the album] I give a glimpse into my life and the relationship I have with my mother.
Vusi Nova is one of the South African artists I admire
The first time I met Vusi Nova, I couldn’t believe it. Because of the stage he is in his career I didn’t think he was the kind of person who would work with just anyone. For him to approach me, it really showed me that people love my work and it’s a beautiful thing. So that was when I really started to take my work seriously, so I could give people music they could relate to and enjoy. [Vusi and Nathi’s song “Nomakanjani” is popular and is fan-favourite whenever they perform it together]. I would love to collaborate with Ringo Madlingozi next.
Watch Nathi and Vusi Nova perform at CPUT campus in Cape Town below. Nathi also tells us about his song-writing process, working with Vusi Nova and more.
Video shot and edited by Anam Joseph
Image by Onele Liwani