by Skyler Hendricks
AfriVocx is a local, versatile music group that originated in Kayamandi, Stellenbosch. The group focuses on an African influence within their music and incorporates a story-telling style throughout their art. AfriVocx was formed in 2009 and consists of three members who met each other and formed a bond in high school.
Afrivocx was originally called “abanqolobi,” (conqueror) however, the group decided to change the name as it became too difficult for people to pronounce. The group is now referred to as ‘African Vocalists’, however, they continue to perform in both isiXhosa as well as English, which they call ‘venac’.
The three members of AfriVocx are Mfundo ‘Scoojas’ Gxagxisa, Lungulethu ‘Lujah’ Menzi, and Lwando ‘Stage’ Ngxola. The three members do not have specific roles within the group but rather trust one another enough to let things take their natural course. “Since we have been together for a long time we understand one another and we know what to do in different situations or events,” says Menzi.
When it comes to song production, AfriVocx has a rather multifaceted approach. There is not one person or Production Company who handles the production of the group. The group meets with a variety of different producers depending on the genre that they are dealing with at the time.
All three members of AfriVocx were actively involved in cultural activities, predominantly the performing arts, in high school. The three of them began listening to ‘spaza’ music, which means ‘rap’ in isiXhosa. This is where the inspiration for creating a music group bloomed. Menzi comments, “We discovered that we could also do spaza music. We met a friend, Lizwi Maxwell, who was also doing spaza. That’s when everything started.”
The group says that they would not tie themselves down to one specific sound although there are a lot of influences. “We are open to new experiences and we explore all genres with our African modern touch.” The musical background of AfriVocx’s members consists of African style and their inspiration is drawn from groups such as Ladysmith Black Mambazo, Soweto Gospel Choir, and Fela Kuti.
AfriVocx plans to shoot a video for their latest single “CHAMPION” while working on new music. The group is eager to continue with gigs across the country and they are open to any events, ranging from corporate functions to weddings. AfriVocx’s last live performance was at the Khayelitsha Fashion Week and their gig schedule can be found on both Facebook (www.facebook.com/abanqolobi/) as well as Instagram (@afri_vocx).
Images: Thando Dyantyi.