Nakhane's in a 'pretty f**king cool' space as he prepares to return to SA's stages

Following the controversy of 'The Wound', the muso-actor-writer has been killing it abroad. Now he's returning home for his 'You Will Not Die' tour

24 November 2019 - 00:00
Nakhane's next film is due to be released in 2020.
Nakhane's next film is due to be released in 2020.
Image: Tarryn Hatchet

It's been a whirlwind two-and-a-bit years for musician, actor and writer Nakhane.

He followed the controversy surrounding the release of the 2017 film The Wound (in which he starred) with his album You Will Not Die and a move to London.

Since then he's been name checked by Madonna, featured in every international publication you want to be in, including the New York Times, and now he's returning to SA for a series of concerts.

Since he left SA, Nakhane has also toured the world and been part of the cast of maverick director John Cameron Mitchell's critically acclaimed musical podcast Anthem: Homunculus.

He starred in a second film shot in Los Angeles, due for release next year, and when he spoke to the Sunday Times, he was in Paris recording material for his next album.

As he thinks about where his journey has taken him, the 31-year-old artist, born in Alice in the Eastern Cape, says: "I know it's a cop-out but I'm always grateful because I remember that a few years ago, I was playing at the Bohemian in Joburg and there were so many of us playing music and we were all good. Some of those people are still making music but some of them stopped because it wasn't financially feasible. I'm really grateful that I got to continue and even more grateful that I get to make a living out of it, travel the world and meet incredible artists who I never thought I'd meet and befriend. I also model for Gucci and Dr Martens - it's all incredible stuff."

Nakhane admits that he takes his success for granted every now and then. "You step into a room and then you step into another room and you forget the journey it took to get there. You want more but you need to realise that where you are right now is pretty f**king cool."

Detractors of The Wound may feel it insulted his Xhosa ancestors, but the artist says he feels he's watched over by them.

WATCH | The music video from 'Interloper' from Nakhane's album 'You Will Not Die'

He says: " A strange thing has been happening to me recently. I've been thinking about musicians that I admire and bumping into them in weird places. I was thinking of Shabaka Hutchings and it was difficult to get hold of him. Then one day I was getting a haircut and Shabaka walked into the same barber. So we exchanged details. There's an opera singer who I love, Mark Padmore, and I was on the train and he came and sat in front of me. Someone is doing their job out there in the other realm."

'You Will Not Die: A Nakhane Tour' takes place at the Chairman in Durban on November 28, The Youngblood Gallery in Cape Town on November 29 and Arts on Main in Joburg on November 30. Buy tickets from Howler.