Walmer musician Joliza Magayiyana sings more than Afro-soul
His self-awareness, originality and appreciation of his roots have helped Walmer musician Joliza Magayiyana achieve the unlikely and attract a wide youth fan base for his genre, he reckons.
Some may classify the singer’s sound as Afro-soul, but when you listen carefully it is not as simple as that. Hence Magayiyana labels his genre the “Bhaca soul music”.
The label pays homage to his ethnicity – Bhaca– into which he was born. Even though he was born in Port Elizabeth, his family is originally from Mawusheni village in Mount Frere, a town dominated by the Bhaca in the former Transkei.
Although reflecting characteristics of afrosoul, Magayiyana’s music leans more towards African traditional music known as umbhaqanga or maskandi, a genre that contributed a lot to his growing up years.
“My music is partly influenced by my childhood because my family played a lot of maskandi when I was younger,” he said.
Magayiyana started singing in a school choir in Walmer Primary School.
“I believed I had to sound like everyone else in the choir to be considered a good singer so much, that I shied away from singing when people pointed out that I sounded different.”
Magayiyana began to embrace his style and started writing music in 2005.He and his peers formed the Valley Gs music group, releasing a single before he moved onto another group – Collabo – to release an EP.
Now a solo artist accompanied by a band of 10 for live performances, Joliza has collected numerous music accolades in the Bay including three for Best Newcomer, Best Afropop, and Best Male Artist at the Nelson Mandela Bay Music Awards in 2018.
Joliza was once again in the spotlight in when he won a local competition in March for a chance to open for Amanda Black at the Ibhayi Live Experience at the Boardwalk ICC in April.
His performance earned him a standing ovation from a crowd that was already on its feet and dancing to his tune.
Although African traditional music has not always been popular with urban youth, Joliza’s music has attracted a notable young audience, something he attributes to the kind of content he writes and sings.
“As a young person myself, I sing about things that happen in Walmer and Port Elizabeth at large, which are mostly things that resonate with my peers,” he said.
With two albums - Amalungelo and Ndithwale Hashe Lam to his name so far, the singer says he is hoping to access good resources to improve his recording quality and record his next project with his band.
He said he looked up to singer Ringo Madlingozi with great respect; a single collaboration with Ringo’s son and singer Phila Madlingozi was also in the pipeline.
Joliza also works as a bus driver for pupils at Heatherbank Primary School where he also holds music classes under his Hybrid Music Development Company. The performer also owns clothing brand Guru Guru.