Mama Bavikile Ngema

Bavikile Ngema [MaBhengu] (umakhweyanaumbheleza[mouthbow], imfiliji [harmonica], isitolotolo [jaws harp]) was born in 1951 in the Nkandla district of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. A prolific composer and virtuoso player on umakhweyana and umqangala (umbheleza) Nguni musical bows, she also performs harmonica and jaws-harp. Learning to play by watching and imitating her sisters and cousins, Bavikile’s uniquely extended umakhweyana playing technique elicits a fourth fundamental note from the single-stringed instrument. Her acute rhythmic, melodic and contrapuntal sensibility lends a palpable, youthful vibrancy to her original compositions and interpretations of traditional Nguni repertoires.

Mama Bavikile Ngema, the most incredible umakhweyana player I know.
Durban, South Africa. (February 2016)