Xhanti Nokwali

Umthombo, the new album by Xhanti Nokwali, is the meeting of musician’s inspired by the healing properties of spring water.  Relating the music to these properties of a spring, the stories told through the album seek to evoke and find healing for a native South African who is not thriving in today’s reality. The album then as a metaphoric spring offering healing to all who encounter its energy.

Scheduled for release between July and August, the album was recorded at The Miriam Makeba Centre for Performance Arts in partnership with ECAVC Studios and Oneshushuday Artistry. The album is produced by respected pianist Nduduzo Makhathini and navigates from Alternative Folk to Maskhandi, from Jazz and Soul.

Here we present Sisonke Papu’s documentary as part of UMTHOMBO EPK, it provides a window to the musicians’ journey of moving from live performance musicians to crafting songs and pulling together the album and features interviews with Nduduzo Makhathini and Xhanti Nokwali.

Additionally, we present a performance at the Guild staged for the virtual National Arts Festival as a reflection and meditation on some of the moments in the album.


  • Genre: Music
  • Format: Video
  • Duration: 15mins
  • Language: IsiXhosa and English
  • Ages: PG
  • Available From: July 4, 2020
Content no longer available.


Filming & editing:  Mzwanele Tshishonga.
Music production:  Nduduzo Makhathini
Acoustic guitar, lead vocals: Xhanti Nokwali
Bass: Sakhile Twala
Drums Asher Gamedze
Vocals: Dumza Maswana and Msaki
Backing vocals: Qhawekazi Giyose, Simanye Gxobole and Alungile Lamani


Xhanti Nokwali is an independent musical artist based in East London and originates from Engcobo Entseleni. The form of expression he uses to communicate his craft can be coined under ‘singer-songwriter’, though the journey travels through many layers. The main inspirations in the journey are his experiences with people, Pan-Africanism and a deep introspection of self. The music Xhanti shares carries an introspective energy, looking into African society, exploring the full effects of colonialism and modernity as a cause for the identity crisis many find themselves in, in Africa. The main focus is his nation and how its natives are coping within ’94 democracy in contrast to their state of being before colonial rule.

There is a strong tribal influence to the soundscape, the sound embodies jazz, folk, maskhandi, gospel, all expressed through voice and guitar. It is truly dynamic in the way it is projected on his debut album Umthombo (published through Oneshushuday Artistry) and even in how it relates with different people. Xhanti has been singing since he was a thirteen year old boy in th Seventh Day Adventist Church, this is where he encountered his voice. It was later, when he begun interacting with the acoustic guitar that he moved to stages outside of church, singing his compositions diners in Cafes and Lounges around East London. This lead to the formulation a band by the name Nguni Relic with which he has done a great deal of growing, sharing stages with the likes of Umle, Itai Hakim, The Brother moves on, The Muffins Nomsa Mazwai and so on…

In 2016 Xhanti won the title of Eastern Cape Music Talent Search, this marked the beginning of his journey as a solo artist. After a tour around the country with the competition, many well established artists have taken notice to this young man’s gift and collaborated with him in a number of live shows, the likes of Msaki, Dumza Maswana, Thabang Tabane, Luyolo Yiba, to mention a few. In the beginning of the year 2020 he released a four track EP on SoundCloud titled: Odwa Nokwali live @ AfroBru | also available on bandcamp In March of 2020 he completed a studio recording, this exciting work has been produced by the sensational Blue Note records artist Nduduzo Makhathini and features the legendary Madala Kunene. Full release details are to be made public through Oneshushuday Artistry very soon.