Iconic South African artist Simphiwe Dana, is set to release her first single, ‘NZIMA’ off the highly anticipated – and as yet untitled forthcoming album – through Sony Music Entertainment Africa.
Although inspired by the Marikana tragedy – ‘NZIMA’ – which is being released as a single to broadcast stations today – the song is drawn from centuries of pain and violence, and is essentially a prayer for a people that have had a history of violence inflicted upon them” says Simphiwe Dana.
“’A prayer for Marikana. The wretched of the earth will one day rise and offer their lives as a covenant written in blood. For their children to see the sun again.”
Reflecting on the poignancy of ‘NZIMA’ ahead of Freedom Day, Simphiwe Dana emphasises the importance of being reminded – “… reminded of what the past 20 years have been about and to point out whether we are meeting or failing Madiba’s vision – a reminder of the cost of freedom, and for ongoing freedom to be translated to a better life for all”.
A music video for ‘NZIMA’ has just been finalised which will be launched parallel to the single this week. The video sees Simphiwe Dana’s consciousness descend upon a deserted secondary school where she at once represents a teacher at the head of a classroom – except this is no ordinary classroom. Producer Themba Sibeko (White Heron Pictures) made sure that the location shoot for the video took place at the historical landmark of the 1976 uprising – Morris Isaacson High School. The video includes stock footage of the Marikana protest courtesy of Rehad Desai, as selected by Simphiwe Dana together with imagery representing innocence through the children, and allows for optimism about the future. Much like the single ‘Nzima’ is far from being an angry song – it has a strong anthemic quality about it which is sentimental – and although subdued in many ways it also carries across the resilient nature of those oppressed – there is always faith that tomorrow can be a better day.
“We understand the value of music as a spiritual conduit for the divine in us all” – Simphiwe Dana
More about Simphiwe Dana:
Simphiwe Dana is a multi-award winning Xhosa Singer and song-writer regarded as South Africa’s most iconic soulful singer, renowned around the world and adored for her impressive vocal prowess. She is an artist who employs a true cultural and African identity in her art form.
Established in 2004 with the release of her debut album Zandisile, Simphiwe Dana has firmly planted her place in the heart of South Africa’s entertainment industry. Her albums have deservedly scooped-up numerous awards and critical acclaim both in SA and abroad.
With Zandisile, One Love Movement on Bantu Biko Street, and her latest offering Kulture Noir, Simphiwe Dana has collected 7 South African Music Awards (SAMA), 2 Metro Fm Music Awards (Best Female Artist and Best Contemporary Jazz), 1 Avo Session Award in Europe (alongside Elton John who received The Lifetime Achievement Avo Session Award), A Metropolitan Eastern Cape Arts and Culture Award, as well as a Pan South African Language Award, including numerous nominations, such as the BBC Radio 3’s World Music 2008 Awards, 3 Metro Fm Music Award nominations and Channel O Best Music Video Awards, just to mention a few.
Having toured Europe at large with her previous two albums, her Kulture Noir album has claimed the No. 1 spot on the German World Music Charts and No. 3 spot on the European Music Charts.
In May 2011, Simphiwe Dana released her first-ever LIVE DVD recording, featuring tracks from her more recent album Kulture Noir and music from previous albums. The live performance was recorded at the Lyric Theatre in Johannesburg where she hosted “An Evening with Simphiwe Dana,” featuring a full band and orchestra.
Her music is now part of the curriculum at prestigious universities such as Oxford University in England and other academic institutions.
By the time she released her second album The One Love Movement On Bantu Biko Street, Simphiwe had begun shaking the political establishment with her uncensored statements and songs and had taken a centre stage as a socio-political commentator on the plight of the poor and the dispossessed.
She continues to advocate for a new political discourse through her numerous writings, such as the language debate she opened recently when she called for the recognition of a single South African indigenous language as an official language. Her strong and impassioned beliefs in the betterment of the African people have seen her play a huge role in the restoration and evolution of African culture and its mores. More recently, Simphiwe embarked on a three-month long national tour titled “The Black Culture Education Tour” with which she married her musical passion with her cultural and social activism to draw attention to the current state of education in South Africa and the factors affecting it.