By Zuko Komisa
Ahead of dropping his critically acclaimed album Isiphithiphithi, Samkelo Lelethu Mdolomba, also known as Samthing Soweto, joined Tbose for My Top 10 At 10.
Best known for his unique style of music, he hails from Soweto, but briefly stayed in the Eastern Cape. He started his career as one of the founding members of the South African acapella group The Soil.
Inspiration, Growth, and music
As part of the show, he shared some of his favorite songs and told a story of how he had very limited access to commercial music when he was growing up. Ladysmith Black Mambazo, he says, was part of the reason he ventured into acapella music. “Ladysmith Black Mambazo was one of the things that my father left for me when I was growing up he loved their songs…” Little did he know that this would be the backdrop of his artistic expression.
Listen to the full conversation here:
He spoke a bit about his 13-track album Isiphithiphithi that recently dropped which features DJ Maphorisa, MFR Souls, Shasha, Mlindo and The Vocalist. In his album, he has a song called Omama Bomthandazo, which is an ode to women. He briefly commented on the ongoing femicide in the country.
“In South Africa, we have a culture of not seeing women as an equal part of our society and seeing them as second-class citizens. Also as a country, we are constantly going through a transition, there are certain things from our culture however, I believe come from a very good place. The treatment of women becomes convoluted when people are migrating from one place to another and merging with other cultures.”
Dealing with mental illness in the family
He shared a personal story about his mother who has for a very long time been dealing with a mental health condition that affected the whole family.
“…at some point she got sick with bipolar, I can’t imagine what would take someone to that place, When she got sick I always say that she went from a woman that we know, my source of strength, the leader of the family to somewhat a secret, someone we needed to hide, she went from this powerful woman to the shame of the family.”
During this period he recalled a dark moment in his life that saw him pick up a drug addiction and finding himself on the wrong side of the law. Throughout his journey music has always been a constant and can clearly been heard in his work as he sonically tells his story.