After the next big thing

Mandisa Bardill–Kwebulana is a bubbly, insistent personality who believes that it is still possible to unearth rarities from the uniformity — which is to say mediocrity — that daily assails us.

Although she dabbles in singing and some acting of her own (Kat and the Kings, a Disney production of The Lion King and, more recently, Akin Omotoso’s Man on Ground), most of her energy is concentrated on promoting young artists through her company Imbumba Stage ­Productions.

Every last Wednesday of the month she showcases two or three artists at Katzy’s, a club in Rosebank, under the title Up and Coming. The show was originally hosted at Bassline in Newtown, where it ran from March to September last year. But because Newtown’s glitter began to wane and it was proving more and more difficult to attract an audience in town, she moved her gig to the magnetic north.

The promoter is married to soul singer and actor Hlubi Kwebulana. She has two “beautiful children” — a boy called Vuyo and a girl named Lihle.

What are you reading?
The Saint, The Surfer and the CEO by Robin Sharma.


Where do you like hanging out?
At home with my front row (good friends and family) over a great meal and a few bottles of vino. I like going out to watch live music and theatre. I love going to the Market Theatre and I am looking forward to checking out the new, vibrant Soweto Theatre in Jabulani.

What music are you playing in your car?
I am listening to an emerging Cape Town-born artist called Hlubi aka the Twiin, whose R&B album is called Gemini. I am also listening to jazz vocalist Melanie Scholtz’s CD, Living Standards.

When you want to escape Johannesburg, which city or town do you like to visit?
Locally, Cape Town and Durban.  Abroad it is wherever my best friend is, which is currently Frankfurt in Germany.

Which part of Johannesburg do you like?
Parkhurst’s Fourth Avenue, Zoo Lake and the Walter Sisulu Botanical Gardens. I’m a park girl.

What is your favourite food?
I have three favourites. Home-cooked soul food — that is mnqushu, mealies, fried chicken, pap and oxtail. I also like Thai food and sushi. This is guaranteed to hit my spot.

What is the last film you watched that blew you away?
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, directed by David Fincher.

Wine or beer?
I used to love a tall, cold glass of beer shandy, but now I’m a red wine girl for sure. My favourite wines are made by Rupert & Rothschild.

Cheese or chocolate?
That’s a tough one, because I love my halloumi and mozzarella, but Swiss Lindt chocolate comes out in front. So, both.

Do you watch TV, and what is your favourite show?
Apart from the news and Nat Geo Wild, I’m a series junkie who is presently hooked on The Newsroom, starring Jeff Daniels.

The Up and Coming gigs take place on the last Wednesday of every month at Katzy’s, The Firs, Rosebank, from 7pm. R100 gets you in. Email: [email protected]

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Percy Zvomuya
Percy Zvomuya is a writer and critic who has written for numerous publications, including Chimurenga, the Mail & Guardian, Moto in Zimbabwe, the Sunday Times and the London Review of Books blog. He is a co-founder of Johannesburg-based writing collective The Con and, in 2014, was one of the judges for the Caine Prize for African Writing.

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