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Music is my life, the soil is my home...

Ntsako Mbhokota catches up with Buhlebendalo Mda, the bubbly front lady of the biggest and most celebrated music band in SA, The Soil. With multiple international nominations, tours and concerts The soil is without a doubt the creme of the crop of the SA music Industry. We talk to Buhlebendalo about her break away from the soil, her new clothing brand and plans for the future.

Ntsako Mbhokota: In your own words who would you say that Buhle Mda is? Where were you born, how was it like growing up? What is your fondest childhood memory? Did you always love to sing and when did you discover that you had this special gift?

Buhlebendalo: Buhle is a 28year old mother and aspiring Business woman. I was born in Dobsonville Soweto a year after my parents got married. It was always a bliss growing up in Soweto because as a child one grew up with not only ones sibling but cousins and the rest of the extended family was always around.

The vibe was always festive more especially on weekends. I remember singing for my grandfather and his friends. They would call me every time when they wanted to be entertained during their "drinking sessions".   I would sing a song by a group called ‘Platform 1’ called Abakwami.  I was around 6/7 years then and then that's when I knew that I wanted to be the next "Ma Brrr" Brenda Fassie. 


Ntsako Mbhokota: On stage the Soil is able to transform the environment with their electrifying performances leaving fans begging for more, what do you attribute this power to? 

Buhlebendalo: It's all God. We believe we are mere mediums. We convey messages of hope faith and Love. We sing from the soul to the soul. So it's way bigger than it looks. This is a special way of connecting with Our God.  Some of what we do is not rehearsed but when the spirit takes over we let go and let God.

Ntsako Mbhokota: I read somewhere that the Soil was formed many years ago and consisted of more than 20 members!!! It must have been a journey you have traveled till you were down to three members, what made the three of you stay when times were tough and never chose to give up?

Buhlebendalo:  the three of us are friends more than anything. Our parents are friends and our mothers go to the same church.  We therefore have always stuck together and with the families being close it happened automatically.  When others went their way in the group the three of us always shared the same vision of making it work.  It sure did and we grateful to that.

 Ntsako Mbhokota: You always talk about how the soil has 4 members of which the first and foremost member is God, do you think you would have made it this far if you were not firmly rooted in God?

Buhlebendalo: Not at all. Without a strong belief and being rooted to our church teachings, we would have not made it.  We don't live for ourselves but for God and we serve his purpose in life.  

 

Ntsako Mbhokota: Your voice has touched so many lives across the world and as the front lady of one the most celebrated music bands in South Africa what can you say to put your fans at ease about your temporary break from the music industry?

Buhlebendalo: Music is my life, The Soil is my home. Music lives in me, I might be on a break in the music scene, but there's no break in Music I wish to educate and empower more people through music and this is just the beginning.   

 

Ntsako Mbhokota: What has been your favorite moments with the band ever since the soil was formed? Name at least top 3 moments.

Buhlebendalo: Traveling the world and sharing our music with fans abroad is one of the best things in Life but the biggest highlight was recording in studio with our very own legends LadySmith BlackMambazo recording one of our songs (hamb'uyosebenza) as well as performing for the Royal Highness Queen Elizabeth and the rest of her family at the Westminster Abby in London. 

Ntsako Mbhokota: Your look, very natural, very Afrocentric, hard not to notice, what made you stick to your roots in this superficial industry where the standards of beauty are so narrow and distorted? 

Buhlebendalo: Firstly My Full Name is Buhlebendalo meaning   Beauty of Nature. I've always loved the skin I'm in, never wanted to change anything about it. Ndinobuhle bendalo obusuka ngaphakathi. I personally think I owe it to my creator to embrace and love the body that I'm in. I also believe I'm all shapes colors and sizes of this beautiful continent, I pride myself of where I was born and raised. NdinguCihoshe, Isilo somlambo and will continue to show the world how proud I am to be born in African Soil. (Excuse the pun)

Ntsako Mbhokota: A lot of people don’t know that you have a clothing line, tell us more about it? What is it called?  What kind of clothes do you make and where can we buy the clothes?

Buhlebendalo: They don't know because I haven't made it public knowledge as yet. I opened my company called The SoilSista Projects which will focus on things that I always had passion for. Working with Children, Empowering young Ladies and Pensioners by giving them an opportunity to make their own income by simply using their hands. So sewing and handcrafting is one of the skills that I will include in my fashion design projects. Some of the clothes I wear on my performances are designed by me and I have seen how my style has been so positively received by many.  So hopefully by next year this project will go far and we will be having our own store where people will access those hand crafted items and many skilled individuals will be empowered... Shhhhhh!  

Ntsako Mbhokota: What would you like to say to your fans about following one's dreams, what words of motivation can you share with someone who is in their career journey and it's not easy for them at the moment but they want to see their dream become a reality one day?

Buhlebendalo: Keep dreaming and putting a lot of hard work to make those dreams come true. If you have talent, that’s God given but your duty is to transform that talent into a skill, so equip yourself with knowledge. Never ever change who you are to fit in... That’s one of the biggest mistakes people do. There's only one of you so make the best of it and my mom always says, never forget where you come from, and lastly. By all means necessary #BangeneNtwana!