Simphiwe Dana talks about “Nzima” and her forthcoming album

1. What music direction are you taking on the new album?

For the first time I’m not looking into any one direction. This album is free of boxes. As an artist I have proven enough that I am capable and I have an individual identity. This time around I am challenging myself to explore different sound that are out of my creative scope.

2. Nzima is catchy and moving, how was the writing process?

Nzima took me around 3 months to write. 3 months of torture really. It became urgent that I should write the song not only to canonize the memory of those we lost to a massacre, but to also honour their memory and give them a melody that will guide their spirits home. That is why there is the familiar upbeatness that Africa so loves. I infused the pain with the familiar heartbeat of Africa.

3. You said the song is drawn from centuries of pain and violence, and is essentially a prayer for people that have had a history of violence inflicted upon them, is there a specific thing or emotion that made you to write this song?

Nzima is about Marikana. On August 16th 2012, South African police were set on unsuspecting protesting miners at the Lonmin mine. The police mowed them down with automatic weapons and 34 lives were lost. The miners were protesting for a wage hike which I did not find unreasonable. They were armed with sticks and some machetes, but they marched peacefully. The order to massacre them will haunt out young democracy. Moreover it makes the call for economic freedom much more urgent. Our people are not free economically. We cannot continue like this. Please read my article here:

4. Did you visualise the video for Nzima as you were writing song?

No. I did not have to visualise the video, the scene was etched in my mind as I replayed the Lonmin massacre over and over in my head. It was all over the news. With the help of the producer Themba Sibeko and the director Thabang Moleya we worked on the storyline for the video.


6. What can your fans expect from your forthcoming album? 

An eargasmic eclectic mix.

7. What do you think is your role as a musician in South Africa today?

My role has always been to speak truth to power. To make the days and nights more bearable. To bring hope to desolation. To be the rhythm for your celebration. To remind us of the beauty of our humanness.

8. What kind of stories or conversations would you like to spark with the new album or with music in general?

There is a nostalgic element to the music, an old school love note, a lighthearted naughtiness and the vintage Simphiwe that all know.

9. Which international artists would you like to work with, that shares the same vision as you?

Buika, Erykah Badu, Lauryn Hill, Mamadou Diabate,

10. What does success mean to you?

Going to bed with a lightness in my heart. That contented feeling

Author: Represent

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