It is not uncommon for a musician or producer to draw from outmoded or traditional songs and to modernise them, whether by sampling them or remaking them completely.
But musician Mpho “Makhalanjalo” Moshoeshoe – who’s also known as Michael Angelo – goes the extra mile. He taps into an authentic sound from 1995, when the dancer and Kwaito artist Arthur Mafokate’s song “Kaffir” became the first Kwaito hit in the country.
He told Scrolla.Africa that his persona of Makhalanjalo is “a fictional character based on a stereotype of an uncle from the kasi (township) who was a super talented individual but never really got to explore his talent because of his own fears and self-doubt,” but this time the uncle is out to get his share.
“I see myself as a reincarnation of that uncle but unlike my predecessors I am going for all that is meant for me,” said the 26-year-old from Cape Town.
The artist does not consider himself “as talented, but someone with a very particular taste and aesthetic,” adding that he was inspired by his older brothers when growing up.
He has also revealed to Scrolla.Africa that he is working on a new album titled Amanzi. This news comes shortly after the artist released his latest single from the album Thand’izinto, a project which he describes as “a recollection of moments that shaped me as a kid who grew up attracted to aesthetics.”
Makhalanjalo uses Xhosa to drag the listener into his conversational verses which are filled with humour, whilst making sure he doesn’t overshadow the heavy Kwaito beat in Thand’izinto.
And it seems his creativity knows no limits as the record’s cover art was also painted by him.
He explained, “While I was in Jozi to promote the song, a friend of mine invited me to a ‘sip and wine’ session at this beautiful boutique hotel called Daze House to paint. Before then I had never painted a day in my life,” adding that because of how it all happened, he had to make it his cover art.
“Amanzi is me coming to terms with being a young adult and all the stresses that come with that while enjoying the gift that is life,” said Makhalanjalo.
After releasing Thand’izinto on the first day of 2021, he aims to release Amanzi later this year.
“I can honestly say I’m proud of not only myself, but the team that has helped me bring this project to life.”