Tell us a little about your hometown and where you grew up.
I was born in a rural area called Somshoek in KZN region, in a small town called Wasbank.
What is your fondest childhood memory?
When my father bought me the bicycle of my dreams—I was the only boy my age who owned a racing bike!
Have you always known that you were meant to be a performer?
My mom used to force me to sing solo in a church, the African Congregational Church. In my early age she also bought me a hymn book and by the age of 9 I was able to memorize the whole book, call songs by numbers and sing in a right tune.
I sang in an ensemble at school and during my entire school life, everyone loved my singing. I was known as a great performer at every school I went to. Even in the community, I enjoyed being in singing groups more than other hobbies and games.
When did you join the Choir?
I joined the choir a few days after the final auditions and callbacks. I passed the audition but there was no vacancy, so I agreed to be a reserve and served that position for 3 and a half years. But it was worth the waiting…
What has been your favourite memory from trips abroad with the Choir? Have there been any particular countries that stand out?
In Fiji we were treated like kings and queens. The hospitality was incredible; from the airport, hotel to bodyguards…
On the flipside, have there been any not-so-good memories when traveling overseas?
It’s really disturbing to get bad news of death while you are on tour or getting ill in such a way that you need to fly back home.
What do you miss most about home when you are away touring with the Choir?
I miss my family and friends but the person I miss most the first night I’m away is my wife Noxolo.
When not performing, what are some of the things you do on tour to keep yourself busy/sane?
I spend most of my time doing some research about certain things of life. I watch the Discovery Channel and CNN News. Sometimes I go jogging, treadmill running, swimming or spending time on facebook.
What artists past or present have inspired you?
Are there any particular artists that you would love the Choir to collaborate with in the future?
What are your all-time favourite SGC songs to perform in concert? Why?
Mbube and Lelilungelo Ngelakho. It’s about time to believe and promote our own compositions and unique rhythms by our great composers in world music.
These songs have brought many Grammy awards to South Africa by South African sons and daughters: Ladysmith Black Mambazo and Soweto Gospel Choir.
If you were not with the Choir, what would you be doing and why?
I would be a soldier, simply because I love working for my country and I grew up loving to fly with parachuters—it is one of my dreams to be in air [risky-risky].
What was the last movie you watched?
If you and your fellow Choir members were competing on “Survivor”, who do you think would win the million dollars? Whom would you form alliances with?
What is something people would be surprised to find out about you?
I am more talented than I look…
- having a lot of experience but can’t tell
- can tame a mad bull to become as meek as a lamb
- a qualified Security Officer with management experience
What is your best joke?
I am sensitive, can’t take a joke…better not crack one!
What is your biggest pet peeve?
If you could pick one song to be the “theme song” of your life and how you live it, what would it be and why?
Mangisondele kuwe Nkosi. In times of depression, when no one is around, feeling lost and broken.
That song uplifts the spirit, it tells me that there is someone near me and all I have to do is to stay nearer to my God. When I meditate I sing this song quietly and I become strong before I even say Amen.
If you could have any super power, what would it be?
Harry Potter. I enjoy getting wonders from people we are undermining. It can be by age, family history or body structures—I like it when they perform their miracles with a humble spirit.
Lastly, what is the meaning of life?
The meaning of life:
Life is a gift from our creator, who starts, prolongs and gives a last necessity in different ways, days and is very unique. Getting together is a nature of any living creature, particularly human beings and in those different groups there is a keyword: Respect.
Respect creates harmony in any lifestyle we choose to live, where young people have to follow some rules of respect. It can be young ones with age and it can be with positions in workplace, gender in some other cultures, religion, status and within a family.
The book of life, as we know, that everything is written in history books, religious big books like the Bible or Koran and many more. Anyone who cares about life has no choice but to listen or read those books to help guide him or her on how to live a happy life.
Shortly i can say the meaning of life is based on RESPECT.
All photos courtesy of Lungi Mhlongo (excluding first photo of him singing).