Kujenga – 15sep

Kujenga is a young band made up of four friends based in the Atlantic Seaboard area. Kujenga is the Swahili translation for the words build, or create, which is what the quartet loves to do; create art and create experiences.

Our sound is a combination of music that we as band members are influenced by, including indigenous African music (mbaqanga, maskandi) to black American music (jazz, neo soul R&B).

The band has been together for just over a year, and consists of Owethu Ndwandwe (22) on keys, his twin brother Zwide Ndwandwe (22) on bass, Thane Smith (19) on guitar and Riley van der Merwe (19) on drums. Each member of the band picked up music during high school and excelled at their instruments through playing in their respective high school jazz bands, and in the worship teams at their local churches. Kujenga has been the backing band for numerous renowned musicians from Cape Town, including Emo Adams, Demi Lee Moore, Nyota Parker, Uno July and more.

Kujenga released their debut album, Nationality on July 10 2019. It is a collection of original music written by the band that moves across genres. The name of the album is inspired by Kujenga’s approach to music, which hasn’t involved sticking to one specific style of music, but be influenced by all sounds. Their music follows in the footsteps of iconic artists such as Bheki Mseleku, Fela Kuti, D’Angelo and plenty of other inspirations. The band has forged their own unique identity with their music, borrowing from numerous places to essentially create their own ‘nationality’. The album tackles themes such as Africanism, spirituality, and the right to political expression. The band is hoping to continue to release more music within a year and change the face of jazz landscape within the city of Cape Town.