Nakhane has been captivating international audiences with his ‘You Will Not Die tour’, and now he is ready to bring the experience to his Mzansi fans with a three-city tour – Durban (28 Nov), Cape Town (29) and Jo’burg (30). He chats to Blacklight ahead of the tour.
Compiled by: Thanduxolo “Thandz” Buti
The acclaimed actor, author, musician, performer and proud member of the LGBTQ+ community has been based in London, United Kingdom, since releasing his SAMA (South African Music Award) winning second album You Will Not Die.
Since branching into the global stage, international critics have named him “one to watch” and also dubbed him an LGBTQ+ trailblazer.
Blacklight: You have been spending most of your time abroad, what would you say is the main thing you missed about South Africa that you can’t find anywhere else in the world?
Nakhane: It’s so difficult to explain with words, but there’s an energy I feel in the people when I get off the plane and start walking in OR Tambo. People are much more demonstrative with their feelings – from joy to despair. That I miss.
BL: How would you say you have evolved as an artist since breaking through the international market?
N: I’ve been trying to be less hard on myself. Self-criticism is good. Taking in feedback is good, but I took it too far. I’m more interested in the process now – enjoying it while I’m doing it – it’s great. If it’s not, then we’ll find a way to make it better. It’s not the end of the world.
BL: Your album “You Will Not Die” received glowing reviews locally and internationally, what was your intention when you were creating the project?
N: I wanted to write an album that was informed by my childhood. So that included stories about my family, my formative years and the music that shaped me. I knew that I was nearing my 30s and just wanted to look back and tie some knots, address some skeletons.
BL: What have you learned through the experience of sharing this body of work with people from different backgrounds internationally?
N: To be in the present. When I started this tour I said that I wanted it to be ritualistic, but I don’t know if I truly allowed that to happen. I wanted to control certain things. Over the course of almost 2 years, I learned to let go. Allow the music and the audience to lift me up, or bring me down.
BL: What inspired you to finally want to bring the tour home?
N: On some level it’s an album about South Africa. There are references to specific places in the Eastern Cape where I was born and grew up. It didn’t make sense that I didn’t perform it properly at home.
BL: What are some of the misconceptions that South Africans have about Nakhane that you hope to redress now that you are home?
N: God, I don’t know. Whoever knows what people truly think about them? Maybe the ‘misconceptions’ have some truth in it. ‘Identity is fluid.’
BL: Would you say you are now living the dream, as an artist?
N: Yes. That thing I wanted: to dedicate my days to art; I’m doing it. I’m incredibly blessed. It’s not about money, even though it’s important to be able to live.
BL: Looking back, what would say to the Nakhane who doubted himself as an artist?
N: This may be read as arrogant, but I never doubted myself as an artist. Maybe my qualities as a so called ‘good’ person were sometimes in doubt, but art has always been that beautiful thing in my life that allowed me to have some joy in this life.
BL: Lastly, what experience do you hope to give with the You Will Not Die SA tour?
N: I want people to be who they are. Come dressed and then behave as that version of yourself that you have to put away because you’re worried about people’s opinion. I want the shows to be spaces of freedom.
To get tickets for the You Will Not Die SA tour go to: Howler.co.za