PE singer to show Europe what she’s made of

ON THE ROAD: Zizipho Bekapi will be touring Europe next year with Ladysmith Black Mambazo. Picture: BRIAN WITBOOI
ON THE ROAD: Zizipho Bekapi will be touring Europe next year with Ladysmith Black Mambazo. Picture: BRIAN WITBOOI

SHE joined a Nelson Mandela Bay teenage band as a dancer, now Zizipho Bekapi is preparing to tour Europe with one of South Africa’s most well- known choral groups as a singer.

The Afro-jazz band Modern Tribe lead singer is performing in four countries with the Grammy award-winning Ladysmith Black Mambazo from February next year.

The 23-year-old has been over the moon since hearing the good news.

“Last week I had to spend the whole week in Cape Town after I heard from our manager Karen Jack that there were auditions in Cape Town. We did not know what the auditions were all about, we only knew that they were looking for talented Xhosa singers. I left for Cape Town on Sunday and auditioned last week on Tuesday,” she said yesterday.

“I was told to sing an English and a Xhosa song. I sang Brenda Fassie’s Vulindlela and Lira’s Feel Good. The judges were impressed with my singing abilities and I was called for the second time.

“I still did not know what the auditions were all about but it was exciting to see some members of Ladysmith Black Mambazo among the judges.”

The two Ladysmith Black Mambazo judges were joined by five from the Netherlands.

“I only knew on Thursday that the auditions were organised by Bos theaterproducties, a Dutch company. They were looking for five talented singers to tour Europe with Ladysmith Black Mambazo. I could not believe it when I was told I was going to be part of the tour,” she said.

Bekapi, the only singer from the Eastern Cape chosen, said they participated in workshops where they were asked to discuss Xhosa culture.

“It was just fun and we were asked to sing only Xhosa traditional songs. God’s timing is never late and I feel like he is opening other doors for me.

“We will be leaving next year February and coming back in May. We will be performing in 45 shows.

“They told us that we will be having five shows a week, only getting time to rest on Sundays and Mondays but I am looking forward to it.”

Bekapi joined Modern Tribe in 2008 – when it was known as New Afroteens – as a dancer. Her break came when one of the band’s founders, Bay businessman Mkhuseli Jack, heard her sing Phinda Matlala’s Tikitiki.

Band manager Karen Jack said they were “very proud of her as she was chosen from thousands of other hopefuls”.

“They are going to teach her to play a Xhosa instrument and that won’t be difficult for her as she is studying sound engineering at Radio Active Production Publishing,” she said.

“We will miss her a lot, but she is a talented kid who just has to spread her wings.” – Yoliswa Sobuwa

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