“We must prove our predictions about the future with action.” — George Jackson

Zwide Ndwandwe


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Zwide Ndwandwe, 27, is a bassist, co-founder and band leader of the seven-piece improvised music ensemble, Kujenga. He also sees himself as a cultural worker, having gained experiences outside the field of music, doing work such as curating events and festivals, writing for publications like Africa Is a Country and Amandla, as well as producing and hosting a podcast on South African music. Kujenga means “build” in KiSwahili, reflecting the band’s purpose.

Music in Africa writes that Zwide comes from a family of musicians. His uncle is the late legendary trombonist and educator Brian Thusi. His mother, Mabongi Thusi, is a vocalist and lead singer of Mabongi Thusi & The Oaks. Zwide says his mother is his role model who informed his politics and outlook on life, “and without those I wouldn’t be the person that I am today”.

He says growing from being a small local band to being the headline act at the Cape Town International Jazz is something he is most proud of. In 2019, the band released their debut album, Nationality, and In the Wake was released this year. Zwide also works with the grassroots organisation Cape Youth Collective and is working on a musical project called Free Music, Free Palestine.


National Diploma in Public Relation, Cape Peninsula University of Technology


The experience I’m most proud of is my band being recognised as one of the leading acts in contemporary improvisational music (jazz), making it from a small local band to headliners at renowned festivals such as the Cape Town International Jazz Festival — all within six years.


My mother, Mabongi Thusi, has been the biggest role model in my life.