Battle of the BandsJohannesburgMusic

MEET THE JOBURG FINALISTS: MUNEYI

November 28, 2019

On Saturday, November 30th, four acts will perform at the AFROPUNK Joburg Battle of the Bands Finals, at the Up Pops Afropunk space in Braamfontein.

Grand Prize at the Battle of the Bands is the once-in-a-lifetime chance to join the star-studded, line-up of the 2019 AFROPUNK Joburg, at Constitution Hill, on December 30th and 31st. But the Battle of the Bands is not only an opportunity for a big break most musicians seek throughout their careers; it’s also an occasion for South African (and southern African) artists to showcase their music, their creative spirit and their artistry to the AFROPUNK audience. So this week, we’re spotlighting all the finalists, asking them questions about who they are and what this moment means to them.

Muneyi sings and writes healing songs inspired by the Tshivenda folk tales, who says  that his dream collaboration with Beyonce would “sound like a glimpse of heaven — without the white Jesus.” LOL. Muneyi is humble and funny and  gives good interview. Read on!

What is your name, your age, and the instrument(s) that you play?

My name is Muneyi, I’m 24 years old and I play guitar, a bit of piano and some Ukulele.

Where are you from?

I am from a small village called Tshilapfene not far from Thohoyandou. That’s where I was born and raised. I lived there for 18 years, until I moved to Johannesburg in 2015

What are your favorite things about where you are from?

It has to be the ability to self-sustain oneself due to the fertile soil and good climate. I love that people here run their own businesses and actually make them a success. I also love how kind and humble the VhaVenda people are. VhaVenda people practice humanity at its core — and it’s always a culture shock being away from Venda and dealing with rude Joburgers, LOL.

Give us a short description of the kind of music you make.

I make music commissioned by the gods. Okay maybe that’s a stretch, but I’d describe my music as an honest sound, inspired by my grandmother and the surroundings I grew up around. It borrows from the Tshivenda folk tales and stories I grew up listening to and my current life experiences as a young adult living in a metropolitan city where the rule is dog eat dog.

If there was one or two core thoughts/ideas that you want your music to convey, what are they?

The first one would be that healing always comes, it’s not linear but it’s progressive and it always makes its way to a willing heart. Secondly, I want people to know that love comes in all forms and shapes, and that if we all tried to love each other a little harder, our lives would be so much better. Loving meaning sacrifice and allowing oneself to be in very uncomfortable situations.

What are your musical dreams and aspirations? Not fame-wise, but creatively. What do you think you can do with music?

I want to preserve my culture and the Tshivenda traditions, while helping rewrite the problematic elements of it, such as toxic masculinity and patriarchy. I also want to show people that you can create non-pop/trendy music that has core foundations and still make a valid contribution to society. Having grown-up in a village where dreaming is limited to a certain scope, I want to encourage those who look up to me, including my siblings that they are at liberty to live their best lives and chase their dreams.

Name one artist that you would like to collaborate with? What do you think that collaboration would sound like?

I would love to collaborate with Beyonce (LOL), maybe not necessarily make a song with her, but make music for her. It sounds so far fetched but I can’t wait for it to happen. I think the collaboration would sound like a glimpse of heaven — without the white Jesus.

What are you most looking forward to if you win the Battle of the Bands? What do you think winning could do for you?

If I win, my career would change drastically. I quit my job earlier this year to pursue music, and I feel like this could make me get closer to my big break. I believe it would give me the access to people and institutions I could have only imagined. To say I have shared the stage with Zoe, Miguel, Solange and all other great artists on this year’s line-up would be a dream come true itself, even if nowhere else was to come after that. Also, I have always wanted to be on the AFROPUNK stage, so even if I don’t win, making it this far is something to me.

Anything else you want to say to the AFROPUNK audience as a way of introduction?

Please remain standing up for what’s good, for what’s noble and for the causes you have fought so hard for. You make the world a better place and the AFROPUNK people could plan all they want, but it’s your presence that makes all the difference and you are celebrated for that. Ndaa!

Go support Muneyi at the AFROPUNK Battle of the Bands Joburg 2019 Finals, at Up Pops Afropunk in Braamfontein, on Saturday, November 30th. 

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