It is time to introduce the five South African artists selected for Xplore.

Our initiative, along with the EU Delegation to South Africa, facilitates the intercultural exchange between South African artists and European peers.

This year’s programme brings the selected South African artists to the Globaltica Festival, in Gydinia, Poland. Meet the collective and find out what they have to say about their career, inspirations and future plans below:

“My  love and passion for music began at home. One of my older sister’s is a choral singer and  growing up I would hear singing around the house while doing chores. She exposed me to classical music, opera, soul & gospel music. My parents were also collectors of music like Jazz, Disco, Reggae & Bumblegum music. My other sibling was into R&B, Kwaito, Hip-Hop & Neo-Soul. So I’ve been fortunate to have grown up listening to a wide variety of music & styles. When I started singing in church, every thing clicked. My choir leader was great and he saw talent in me and inspired me to pursue a career in music too. I’m inspired by Artists like Ella Fitzgerald, Thandiswa Mazwai, Busi Mhlongo, Brenda Fassie, Lebo Mathosa, Jill Scott, Yukimi Nagano, Nai Palm and so many more…

I have traveled extensively nationally, and internationally I have been to Germany, Tanzania, New York, America, Reunion Islands. I would love to explore more countries in Africa like Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya & Uganda. I would love to also be able to travel to North & South America, Asia and Europe.”


Born and raised in Soweto, Bonj has been immersed in the music industry for over 10 years. In September 2019, she travelled to New York to speak at the UN’s Social Good Summit and perform at the UN General Assembly.

“Writing was an escape from having to engage with others in boarding school. Well, that is how it all started until I realised the importance of re-telling African tales through poetry and subsequently foregrounding African indigenous culture through music. In a loud world where the noise can be so deafening, mine is to manipulate the noise and cultivate it into something strange yet beautiful. I believe music, and art as a whole is changing and is changing the world one community at a time, and I am happy to be doing my part. I’m currently inspired by L’wei Netshivhale (a South African composer and musician who foregrounds indigenous African music), Oddisee (a rapper, husband, father and musician who travels and performs with his band), Blitz the Ambassador (a Ghanaian, New York based musician turned film director), and the Art Comes First collective who are making immense strides in pushing fashion and black culture.

I have actually never travelled and performed much with the band outside of my country, save for Lesotho in 2016. As a spoken word artist (without the band) I have performed in Harare, Washington DC, New York, Gothenburg, Stockholm and Uppsala. I would like to play Clandestino in future, the MTN Bushfire Amphitheatre stage is also appealing to me. Other desired festivals are Sauti Za Busara in Zanzibar, Lake of Stars (if they make a comeback), Rise Festival, SXSW in Texas, Cape Town International Jazz Fest, North Sea Jazz and more. . .”

Flex of He & I

Poet MC that incorporates spoken word poetry into live music. He & I is an alternative, ‘poetry in music’, band with influences of jazz, soul and hip-hop.

“I started in 2010 when I started to learn the guitar. This was the beginning of my journey to discovering music.

My biggest inspirations are Nina Simone, Oliver Mtukudzi, John Mayer and so many more outside of music. I have been fortunate enough to have played in Germany, Switzerland, United States of America, Democratic Republic of Congo & Malawi.”

Wandile Mbambeni

Singer, songwriter and producer from Johannesburg. Over the past two years, he has played at some of the biggest music festivals in South Africa, including Rocking the Daisies and the Richmond Hill Music Festival.

“In the words of Franky Boissy “what is black music? People in the studio wanna give me five minutes to explain black music? Five minutes when it took me all my life to feel it, I mean, it took me a whole life time to feel the funk”. Such words pierced the human being in me to start my journey writing poetry. To explain such feelings, thoughts that are bottled in, issues that cannot be passed by wind conversations. Where I’m from is the source of inspiration to write these poems, seeing my surrounds be an island choking its self to the bone, standing elevated with crows decorating the sky. In this sense I become Shaka Zulu with the pen.

I haven’t crossed the borders of South Africa for gigs, I’ve been doing a lot of my gigs locally. Oh, early this year I had the opportunity to represent South Africa in the World Poetry Slam Runners – Up Championship digitally. I don’t know does that count as travelled (and I hide after saying that) but on the other hand I would love my poetry to flow in the rivers of the world, which ever country it maybe. Thank you.”

Khayalethu Mguzulo

Raised in Soweto Orlando East, Khayalethu has an award from the African Print Authors & Poetry Awards for ‘Best Male Poet’ and a ‘Poet of the Year’ Award from Word n Sound 2019.

“I started writing poetry in 2010, which was my first year in university. I had prior to that been writing rap lyrics and so was very much influenced by underground rap artists more so than poets. A prolific underground rapper named Hymphatic Thabs had the biggest influence on my understanding of the musicality of words as it pertains to poetry. I have thus far had two US tours.”

Modise Sekgothe

Award winning poet, actor, playwright, vocalist and percussionist from Johannesburg. He’s main aim is to collaborate with artists of other disciplines aside from poetry in order to explore the many ways in which the word can be experienced in multi-layered contexts.