The award-winning artist previously known as Zimbini Makwetu – who now goes by the stage name Zimbini Engomeni, will launch her post-Covid-19 career with a concert on Saturday July 2 at the Artscape Opera House in the city centre.
And what’s more, concert goers can look forward to listening to Buhlebendalo of the Afro-soul group The Soil, who will be joining Zimbini on stage, for a rendition of the latter’s song titled Hata, a collaboration between the two.
After two years of non-activity by artists due to the Covid-19 pandemic, music lovers should make the journey to the concert despite the unfriendly and chilly weather now keeping most of us indoors.
Zimbini Engomeni has promised an explosive and soul-filled show that will keep the audience warm and reveal new works that she has penned during the hiatus.
The show is a multi-dimensional Afro-pop concert that will feature diverse artists including Nomakrestu, Black Pearls, Baba Yaya, the South African Youth Choir and DJ Tarenzo.
It is a 90-minute musical journey and will include singers who have been with Zimbini on her journey.
According to producer and director of the concert, Elvis Sibeko, the show consists of two 45-minute acts.
“It uses music, dance pieces, digital sounds and spectacular stage lighting to create a wonderful world of musical theatre experience.”
Zimbini’s journey in music started at an early age, during her formative years in Hoita, a village in Cofimvaba, in the Eastern Cape, owing to her singing in the church choir, because her father was a minister of religion.
But it was her decision to leave village life and come to the Mother City that has set her on a stellar career path.
“I came to Khayelitsha to get a better education and enrolled at the local high school … I didn’t see any prospects for me, had I stayed in the village,” she said during an interview at the Baxter theatre in Rondebosch last Wednesday.
That was back in 2007, and she has not looked back since.
A sparkling character oozing confidence, she said she was excited for the show, which came as a result of a deal she struck with Artscape, as the venue celebrated its 50th anniversary last year.
She added that she had discovered earlier on in life that if one is bent on a journey of self-discovery, they’d have to leave the comforts of home and hit the road.
In Khayelitsha, she joined an arts collective called Future Lines Academy, which trained them in music, acting and poetry. She also did her performance studies at the Magnet Theatre in Observatory. She recently starred in Mandla Mbothwe’s Ikrele Lechiza, which received rave reviews.
Her talents have taken her to faraway places like New York and Sweden, where she performed in Brett Bailey’s We are dying here, a play about the scourge of gender-based violence, which is running rampant in South Africa.
Zimbini composes and sings her songs mostly in isiXhosa. Songs from her latest double CD titled Ndiyehlela will be performed at the concert as testimony to her versatility.
“Firstly because I’m fluent in the language and also because I’m aligned to the language my true feelings come through and that I can better express them in isiXhosa,” she added.
She said her collaboration with Buhlebendalo came about after the latter heard her song on YouTube and embarked on a mission to find her.
“In 2019, she made contact and said she would love to sing with me, and our meeting gave birth to the composition of Hata.”
“Hata is an isiXhosa expression warning a child to be careful. It’s a metaphor for the pitfalls of life.”
A line goes, “Ubamb’amazinyo umama, xa ndidela imiqathango yakhe, kuba ndifun’uzivela,”
For her, this collaboration explains the beauty of music and the journey of beautiful spaces in an individual’s life.“Music is a journey to be happy and beautiful spaces.”
It is difficult to box her though, as she is multi-talented, being a composer, a singer, musical director and teacher, and a soundscape artist. She has also won multiple awards in music and theatre, including the Fleur De Cap Theatre Awards for Best Sound Design, Original Soundscape , Live Performances in 2020.
The show will be at the Artscape Opera House on Saturday July 2 and starts at 3pm. Her debut CD Ndiyehlela, which will be re-launched at this concert, will be on sale at the door at R120 each. Covid-19 protocols will be observed at all times.