WATCH | Man wows Twitter with flawless Swahili in Madjozi's 'John Cena'

23 August 2019 - 06:26 By Cebelihle Bhengu
Musical director James Bassingthwaighte has become an internet sensation, thanks to his rendition of Sho Madjozi's 'John Cena'.
Musical director James Bassingthwaighte has become an internet sensation, thanks to his rendition of Sho Madjozi's 'John Cena'.
Image: Twitter/ James Bassingthwaighte

The only person who sings Sho Madjozi's 'John Cena' better than she does is James Bassingthwaighte, whose video of his flawless rendition of the song has gone viral on Twitter.

James told TimesLIVE there was more to the story behind the video.

He is one of the directors of SA's most loved choirs, the Mzansi Youth Choir, and asked its members to perform a rendition of song. But they said they couldn't because it was difficult. 

“I did not say that this would blow up. I tagged Sho Madjozi as a joke, but it was meant to prove to the youth choir that nothing is impossible.” Everyone who has seen the video has marvelled at the white man who sings Swahili so flawlessly.

Asked by TimesLIVE if he speaks the language, James said: “No, not at all. I speak English, Afrikaans and ngiyakhuluma kancane isiZulu, meaning I also speak a bit of Zulu. I have no understanding of Swahili. I just learnt the song in a day through practice.”

Before his video, the choir, through its Twitter account, shared a video of its members jamming to the song. The video is an ode to Madjozi.

It is captioned: “Sho Madjozi you inspire us so much. Siyabonga, thank you, asante for everything you represent. Sinyathela izinyathelo zakho, sis,” which means we follow in your footsteps, sister.

James praised the Tsonga rapper for being true to herself, taking that and fearlessly showing it off to the world.

“This is deep. South Africans are starved of this kind of authenticity. A Tsonga girl is singing in Swahili, that is the power of music. If we challenged one another enough, we'd go far.”


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