Sakumzi Qumana’s phone sounds an alert. It’s a text message informing him that his copy of Michael Jackson’s Dangerous album has arrived at his favourite record store located somewhere in the northern ‘burbs of Johannesburg. He raises both arms high in celebration of this major victory, then rests back on the office chair he’s seated on and, with arms still mid-air, swivels around to face me and exclaims “I’ve been waiting for this for ages!” and tails off the excitement with a celebratory whistle. Tjovitjo! He’ll rush over to the record shop to make the pick-up later in the afternoon.
The Mdantsane-born vocalist and producer is at Sound And Motion Studios where he and an engineer are tracking vocals to “Mahambelala”. It’s about about a person who sleeps around — sexually or, as he puts it, in “going from one place to another; you don’t really have a home, you sleep wherever you can.”
After repeated takes, none of which sound right to him, he’s ready to work on the next song. This turns out to be the final mix for what’s to become his next single “uLate”.
Saki tells the engineer that the low ends don’t boom enough, and jokes that he’d like people’s sound systems to get damaged just off of the bass alone. The song, he says, is a dedication to those who haven’t been paying attention to his music. “You are late, we’ve been doing this for a while,” he explains, perhaps referring to the days when he and musician pal Pravda23 would host gigs in Cape Town every other Sunday evening.
The video was shot on location in an innercity Jozi devoid of traffic. Saki says that they filmed it in December, which makes sense since that’s when everyone and their pets vacate the concrete jungle in order to breathe new air, and to reload on their best mean mug impersonations in preparation for the survival mode the city shall demand throughout the coming year.
* These events took place in 2014, 3 years before the band as we currently know it took shape