MUNEYI’S “VHULUDU” UNPACKS THE FEELINGS THAT COME WITH SOLITUDE
July 24, 2020
There’s something to be appreciated about moments that expose your vulnerability when you least expect it. I experienced one of these moments listening to Muneyi’s “Vhuludu.”
“Vhuludu” means solitude in TshiVenda, Muneyi’s native language. Muneyi, who won AFROPUNK’s 2019 Battle Of The Bands in Joburg, explains the inspiration behind the song:
“I have always wondered how my 89-year-old grandmother deals with being alone every day. She went from being surrounded by multitudes to being alone in her six-roomed house in the village of Tshilapfene. She recently lost sight in one eye and being the hard worker she once was, she now finds herself struggling to perform the simplest of tasks. Surely this loneliness takes the form of a spirit being in her house, otherwise, who does she talk to? ‘Vhuludu’ became a combination of my worry and guilt— all engulfing me.”
This, of course, is a subject that has been personal for me since I can’t be with my own Grandmother due to travel restrictions imposed by the government during the times of Covid-19, and so I wonder everyday how is she coping as an elderly person in this terrifying situation we’re facing.
Having spent these past couple of months in self-isolation, I was pretty good and managed well, but listening to “Vhuludu” has brought to surface feelings of uncertainty and insecurities I thought I’d dealt with a long time ago. Even though I thrive independently, there’s no denying the need for affirmation, assurance, and assistance from friends, family, and partners. When Covid-19 hit, I was one of those people who bragged “I’ve been self-isolating all my life”, a selfish statement which took for granted the company of my close friends, interaction with strangers and random moments of just being able to people watch. What I thought was isolation, was merely me being an extra in the background while I watched the world pass me by. I might have been that guy who has headphones in a crowd, but I wasn’t alone, I was with and around people.
“Vhuludu” has made me realise how I don’t have anyone to share small and big special moments with someone. Yes, granted, I have built these walls of isolation myself but for one to build such high strong walls of loneliness, there must be an inherent fear of rejection that comes with it. Muneyi managed to soften those walls and now I find myself deep within “umgowo” (deep introspection within my feelings). I remember quite recently, I received some amazing news, which I was excited about, but I had no one to share it with. I don’t have the joys of seeing someone face light up because of a dad joke I’ve told or a meal I have cooked for them. I don’t have the “Is there something I can get for you” when I go to the store, or moments where I listen to someone’s day. The other side of the bed has been occupied by my laptop and unfolded laundry, which is somewhat a makeshift replacement. There are moments that go by unseen because no one is there to witness them, therefore they’ll always be memories I share alone. Even though I connect with friends online and have found communities in a variety of podcasts, there’s no replacement for having people with you.
By no means is this a boo-hoo testimony or a self-pity journey, but rather a moment of self-reflection and a feeling of hope that has been brought by Muneyi with “Vhuludu.”
Stream “Vhuludu” here: