IT’S LOVE ABOVE ALL IN BONGEZIWE MABANDLA’S “JIKELEZA” VIDEO
July 8, 2020
South African Afro-folk artist Bongeziwe Mabandla is making a plea for love above everything in his latest video for “Jikeleza” off of his iimini album. Shot on location outside of Johannesburg, the video for “Jikeleza” is a mesmerizing, one-take narrative that shows how traumatic moments can be left at the wayside when the pull of love is right in front of you.
“Jikeleza means ‘Go Round’, and it is about that moment when you realize how powerful the feeling of love is,” explains Mabandla. “The song is also about our universal need to connect. It is about those things that bind us and make us the same.” The video brings to life the song’s lyrics – “God truly exist/He saw me in my suffering/And extended his holy hand/Put me in front of you” – in the style that has become a signature of Mabandla’s visual output. The artist is shown leaving the scene of a car crash, while walking with purpose and even light-heartedness towards the love that is pulling him forward.
In the inclusion of feet crunching on a gravel road, birdsong, and the overall visual simplicity, the video has elements of cinéma vérité that serve to enhance the song’s universal message. In achieving this, iimini’s producer, Tiago Correia-Paulo, recorded sound on location and mixed it with the album recording. He also graded and edited the video, creating a seamless visual for one of iimini’s standout tracks.
“The video amplifies the power of love in its depiction of someone coming out of a difficult situation but running towards love, at all cost,” says Mabandla. “Our character is always moving forward and towards something great; he’s coming out of a traumatic moment but is heading towards something that is precious.”
Directed by Thati Peele, and produced by Allison Swank of Giant Films, “Jikeleza” adds to the growing body of visual work – including “Khangela” and “Zange” – accompanying Mabandla’s celebrated new album.
“With ‘Jikeleza’, I want to put the attention on what the character is running towards, not what he’s running away from. It’s an invitation, too, to take a journey with me on this realisation and life truth. It’s about putting love and connections above everything else.”