Sjava and Big Zulu have collaborated in creating what is respected to be an iconic project titled “Ukhamba” that have been scheduled to debut in May. However, their first single together “Umbayimbayi” will be released on March 24.
Both singers have chosen to be called InkabiZezwe and they both hail from the scenic Bergville in KwaZulu Natal. But, they decided to move to the tranquil hills of Drakensburg to record the songs.
Responding to questions on how the project came about, Sjava said, “A lot of people have been asking for collaboration. It was only a matter of time. It was a matter of time.
“We tried to get together to make music, but we failed and we felt this was the right time. Warner Music approached us and we thought it was the right time to use my label 1020 Cartel and Inkabi Records.”
Inkabi Zezwe is an isiZulu phrase of endearment used in music to describe a united brotherhood for this one-time collaboration that they are putting together. They did not struggle to create any of the songs they are preparing to put out.
Sjava spoke further on the process of recording the songs, saying, “We were anticipating some glitches but when we arrived in Drakensburg, we recorded the 10-track project in seven days straight, smoothly and easily.”
According to the “Isibuko” artist, many people expected them to be antagonistic and competitive, instead, they demonstrated brotherhood and decided to work together.
He said, “Collaborating is always better. People are used to fighting, beefing, and jealousy. Some people hate seeing us together, but we are living in the last days when people are dying.
“You speak to a person today and the next day you hear they died. So, we feel it’s important to always be at peace and to unity. Whether to the old or young. Certain songs are for me. But we are grateful to sing for an open-minded generation. This thing is bigger than us.”
Big Zulu spoke about what helped him become who he is today, saying, “Growing up in the village helped us and we used to herd cattle. We were taught respect and the album both city and rural people can relate.”
Speaking about why they chose the name Ukhamba –which means a beer calabash, Sjava said, “All those who are thirsty can sip some wisdom from it. It has nothing to do with alcohol. We initially chose the name Umthombo(a river), but Ukhamba (calabash) worked better.”