Now London-based, musician, artist and writer Nakhane is returning home to perform music from his latest album, You Will Not Die, after taking it on tour in countries such as Brazil, Poland, Denmark, the US, Greece and Australia.
“I was abstractly excited, until I got into rehearsals, and now I’m tangibly excited,” says Nakhane, who hasn’t had a full show here in almost three years.
Many, like myself, would’ve first seen him perform live at the Afropunk festival in 2017, where he captivated the audience and became the highlight of the night with his stage and vocal presence.
“That show was significant to me. It was the first time I had performed after the whole Inxeba drama. I didn’t know how I’d be received. It was an incredible welcome back home. I felt so uplifted by people’s love.”
The singer received death threats after starring in Inxeba: The Wound in which he played Xolani, a factory worker who has a sexual and romantic relationship with one of the caregivers tasked with assisting initiates while at the mountain. The movie had to be taken off the big screens in the Eastern Cape due to the homophobia that played out through intimidation and violence.
Sometimes Xhosa people like to think they are the centre of the world
“I would’ve liked to have played in Port Elizabeth, but it doesn’t make sense for me to play in the Eastern Cape because I still get a death threat here and there. So I’m only playing in Cape Town, Johannesburg and Durban.
“Sometimes Xhosa people like to think they are the centre of the world. They can easily believe that they are the only demographic in South Africa, especially Xhosa men. Like, calm down. It’s not all about you,” Nakhane expresses.
“I do not regret any of it, even if it means I will probably spend the rest of my life paying for it,” he adds.
Nakhane shares that he is in Paris writing new music, and is also working on a new film shot in Los Angeles, which is set to come out next year. All this while also busy with a short film, writing short stories and essays, and even working on a novel, which he vehemently says will not be coming out next year.
“I want the new Nakhane to be seen,” he says about his plans for next year. I ask him to tell me more about the new Nakhane. “No. You have to see it,” he says sternly and pauses for a few seconds.
“I guess I am less scared to be myself. I want to magnify the joy in the world. I want to make music and put on shows that remind people that there is beauty in the world.”
. Nakhane will perform in Durban at The Chairman on November 28, Cape Town’s Youngblood Gallery on November 29 and Johannesburg at Arts on Main on November 30. Tickets are available at howler.co.za