The last time I was in Cape Town was in April, to do a story on the fire that hit Joe Slovo informal settlement in Langa. This time around, I was returning to produce a Bedroom Tour Experience. An intimate music gathering I conceived in 2016 when seeking to innovate what a performance space could be and look like. This was heavily inspired by noticing the music I was making was not made for club spaces. I was bored and tired of fitting that mold. Importantly, I needed a space where my family could watch me perform.
This was not the first Bedroom Tour I hosted in Langa. It would be the third one if I am being pedantic about detail. This time around it felt official. I was hosting it at my grandmother’s home. Her name is Kuku. In December 2018 we hosted it at my other grandmother’s house, Sis’Kholi, who does not live too far from Kuku. The lineup of musicians was an array of storytellers from R&B, African Jazz, Funk and Soul. I spent time with some of the musicians building up to the 4th of September, documenting their preparations for other shows and the Bedroom Tour.
Music in Africa Live was the main reason this was even possible affordability wise, having won a grant to host a Bedroom Tour. I gathered a team that comprised individuals I had previous working relationships with, both in Cape Town and Johannesburg, where I am currently based. Similarly, working with musicians as a documenter has given me access to some of the most special and sacred spaces. This was no different. I also had an opportunity to sit in on one of South Africa’s finest talents and voices.
I spent time with Chosi, who was preparing for her show Idini at Selective Live on the 28th of August. Idini is a Xhosa word meaning sacrifice. This would be Chosi’s public artistic declaration of giving herself away to do what she believes God has called her to do. To minister through her music and bring people closer to God. I have been interested in Chosi as a musician for some time and putting her on the Bedroom Tour lineup made sense for many reasons. I sent Chosi a message via Whatsapp and asked her if I could document her preparations for the Idini performance. We met at Langa where her rehearsals were, at Skhumbuzo’s home in Sandile. Skhumbuzo is a drummer for Kujenga, the band that was backing Chosi for Idini.
On the day of Idini, I woke up feeling ill but I knew I had to get up and attend Chosi’s performance. Ultimately, I am glad that I attended because what an experience it was. Her performance space was a room full of her people from university, church community and her family. The spirit was alive when the music began. My takeaway here was learning how to love loud and proud. Chosi celebrated her people out loud that night.
The day before, Tiana Amari and I were headlining a show in Observatory, at a place called The Bijou, a very beautiful venue in Cape Town. I was performing for the first time in a long minute. What better way to be ushered back on stage by fine musicians like Nkosinathi Matomela (pianist), Thulani Mkatshane (percussionist), Tiana Amari on bass and Dean on trumpet. What else can a rapper ask for?!
The one theme that kept recurring throughout my stay in Cape Town were the birthdays of close friends and family members I got to spend. On the 20th of August when I arrived, my cousin Tumi was turning 16. Four days later we celebrated Tiana’s birthday and on the 4th of September it was my mom's birthday which coincidentally was also the day of the Bedroom Tour.
I spent time with my cousin Khanyi. She has become quite the photographer. At the tour she was fired up and wanted to document too. I gave her a small point and shoot camera, but she was more geeked out about the DSLR I was using.
Lastly, I had an opportunity to do a residency with Nikho Mageza, the founder of podcast platform Outside Radio. For four weeks, we were producing a radio programme called OutsideTaiv on Bush Radio on Saturdays between 12 & 4pm and it was definitely a heartwarming experience. Cape Town was a rollercoaster of many things. I would do it all over again. Because there is truly no place else like home.