Creatives Under Lockdown is a SABC News feature,  that focuses on issues affecting artists. This week, music artist Dendele shares his story.

Musician Dendele is one of a few artists who rap in the Venda language.  His single Dzembe, a hoe in Venda, aims to inspire those who are facing challenges to be proactive in dealing with them.

“It is a motivational song to say that if you don’t have opportunities currently, don’t just sit and fold your arms, because we have people who are qualified but don’t even have CVs. So the song is to say ‘stand up and do something’. There are no opportunities that will come to you.”

Dendele, whose real name is Ndwakhulu Ramabulana, says the single has been well-received back home in Venda.  “It has been influential and people have received it very well back home. A lot of people are enquiring about when I will release more (songs) and when the album is coming out.”

Footprint in Africa

He went on to work with a Botswana videographer for a video for the single. Dendele plans to expand his footprint in Africa.  So far, he has collaborated with Eswatini artist ESQ in a song titled, Africa Unite.

“I was just browsing one of the social media platforms and I happened to bump into him doing a verse for Holy Grail Records Eswatini. I inboxed him and asked if we could do a song together. I sent that on Friday and the following day he replied. I sent a chorus and he replied with a verse and our song was complete in one weekend.”

Album release 

Born in Venda and raised in Botlokwa, Dendele had planned to release an album in September, however, the coronavirus lockdown made him decide otherwise.

An engineering technologist by profession, he decided to be an independent artist in order to balance his work schedule.

“With the lockdown, I just realised that it could be a wasted project. My target is now, early November. What is important is through this lockdown, I got enough time to work on my music.”

Below is a conversation with Dendele: 

Q: Who is your favourite rapper at the moment?

A: Locally I listen to Anati, Duncan, Sjava, Emtee, Zakwe, Postman Mukwevho. And Internationally, T.I, Post Malone and Future.

Q:  After a long day of work or studio time, what do you do?

A:  Since I study LLB part-time, I focus on books.

Q:  What is your biggest regret?

A:  Not taking a contact number of somebody who advised me to never stop studying as education is the key to easily open doors. It was a casual conversation but it built me to be the person I am today. I wish I had his contact to say ‘thank you’.

Q: What advice would you give younger self?

A: Stay on your lane and know your strengths. Keep doing great things and follow opportunities. Understand that not all closed doors are locked, keep trying to open. Ndaa!

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Related:  Part 6: Thabo Malema on the new enemy, his dream and COVID-19

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