Up Close and Personal with Zakwe

During an interview with Kas’lam; Legendary Zakes bantiwini once stated that “who we are is what attracts others, it is what the world wants to see. That is why artists such as Drake featured Wizkid and Kendrick Lamar featured Saudi. It brings no value to copy what the rest are doing, what Africa has to offer is what makes us appealing”. He said. 

The premise to true greatness is authenticity. Success comes when one can truly become himself and embrace their uniqueness. We are each uniquely gifted and are born different from one another, and that is our true individual power.

Just like the likes of Sjava, Zakwe truly embodies this philosophy to its fullest extent, an artist that stands out. A true South African Kasi rap pioneer that polished the very same way that was paved by legends such as Pro-kid and Skwata-Kamp.

Since this is Kas’lam Magazine, first thing’s first, tell us where you are originally from and how it was like growing up there. I hail from Kwa-Mashu aka Snqawunqawu in KZN. A lot of people ask me what Snqawunqawu means or where it comes from, I guess now they’ll know.

What does Snqawunqawu mean? It’s a slang name for Kwa-Mashu dubbed for its controversial past that involved a lot of gun related violence, however for the rest of us, Kwa-Mashu raised us well and taught us valuable life lessons that we can write about today.

You mentioned that Kwa-Mashu has a controversial past, so, how did you isolate yourself from all the commotion to become what you are today? Personally, I think it comes down to how parents raised us, my parents were very strict. They enforced education at home to an extent that wearing a blazer to school was compulsory from home. They didn’t believe in me loitering around after school so that kept me away from the controversy, instead that taught me to pen down the observations and experiences I had in Kwa-Mashu more than anything.

Would you say your music is based on your life story? Definitely, I usually tell people that I am not a Kasi rapper but a rapper from eKasi, I rap about a lot of different issues as far as concepts are concerned.

Speaking of concepts and rapping, you just dropped Xebisa, what are you bringing with your new album? A lot of rappers don’t want to drop solid rap albums anymore so I made sure that I drop a body of work that’s authentic to rap hence the guest features from the likes of Mapaputsi, Stogie T, Tribal and a few Tsotsi-by-nature artists to name a few.

On the production side I worked with a lot of young up and coming producers to give it a new refreshing sound although I maintained my authentic rap style.

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