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One on one with the legendary Ndingo Johwa

His booming voice is one of the most recognizable in local music and has been for well over a decade. This week, CELEB EDITION travels deep into the heart of Kalanga land to hit the high notes with Ika-Jazz sensation, Ndingo Johwa

What habit did you pick up this year, as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic?

I invested more of my time into farming. Initially, I did not think the Covid-19 would disrupt our lives for this long. I thought it was going to be for a couple of months! Eventually, when there was no end in sight, I decided to invest more time and energy into farming because I had zero income.

I still have no income but I still have to provide for my family.

Although physical shows have been halted, the digital space has increased. Has a wily veteran such as yourself considered taking advantage of this?

Oh yes. Most of our music is online now. It is just a matter of making sure that the sites we have engaged to distribute our music pay us fairly. But yes, we have moved into the digital space direction, it is the only way!

You were scheduled to perform at the Cape Town Jazz Festival this year, tell us about that.

Oh yes, we were and just as it was about to happen Covid-19 struck.

But I am sure as soon as everything at least partially normalises they will engage us again.

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It would have been the first time I perform at the CPJF.

Talking about big stages, what’s the one performance you’ll never forget?

Khumbulekhaya Festival at the Buffalo Stadium [East London, South Africa].

We performed in front of 23, 000 people and we left them in awe! This was in 2012.

Can we expect any new music from you before the end of the year?

A Corona single yes. It is actually ready, I am just putting the final touches and we will be able to put it out to the world soon.

You have been in the music industry for years now, indeed you long qualified for veteran status! Will there come a time when you hang up the mic?

No. Music is one of those things where your heart must stop for you to actually stop singing and performing – unless maybe one is affected by some ailments of some sort! Music is like wine, it matures as you get older!

If you hadn’t made it big in the world of music, what career path would you have chosen all those moons ago?

I am actually a trained mechanic so maybe I would have ventured into the construction business, which I actually did for some time in my life!

What is the one thing you want to do in life that you haven’t yet?

I have done almost everything that a man has to do. But maybe the one thing I would want to do is focus more of my energy in trying to change the world when it comes to issues of Gender-Based Violence (GBV).

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I would really want to use my influence to address this social ill which has gotten out of hand.

Five things people don’t know about you?

1. I live my life like an open book

2. I am a very open-minded person, you would actually be shocked

3. I am a very good listener

4. I am an avid reader

5. I can argue all day – I hope that doesn’t contradict the fact that I am a good listener!

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