“Trauma, but make it

Tal­ented author, singer and ac­tor Nakhane (Touré) has re­lo­cated to Lon­don to seek out new places, people and inspiration, fol­low­ing the re­cent re­lease of his al­bum, You Will Not Die. We caught up with him dur­ing a re­cent visit to Jo’burg

Destiny - - Leisure guide -

With a novel, two al­bums and a crit­i­cally ac­claimed film un­der his belt, Nakhane’s al­ready writ­ing again, but isn’t yet sure what it will turn out to be. “I’ve found my­self wak­ing up want­ing to read and write. I seem to have lots of words in my head right now. I’ve also gone back to the way I used to write at first – go­ing for walks, be­ing in­spired by things and then writ­ing lit­tle vi­gnettes. From those, I cre­ate short sto­ries or songs,” he says.

Fans are still work­ing their way through his soul­ful, elec­tron­ica al­bum, You Will Not Die, and the pas­sion­ate, pared-down videos he’s been re­leas­ing. Nakhane says he’s en­joy­ing the songs on the al­bum more than those on his first of­fer­ing,

Brave Confusion.

“When I fin­ished my first al­bum, I found that I wanted to get away from it im­me­di­ately. I also didn’t like the crowds I was play­ing to – white, mid­dle-class men with plaid shirts and beards – and my in­stinct was to chal­lenge them. I just wasn’t tick­ing the boxes with au­then­tic­ity. “It’s been very dif­fer­ent with my sec­ond al­bum. Dur­ing per­for­mances of my new songs, I see my­self as a shaman or priest of that ex­pe­ri­ence and I al­low people to par­tic­i­pate by ask­ing ques­tions be­tween songs. If you think about African cul­ture and iz­im­bongi, au­di­ence par­tic­i­pa­tion is his­tor­i­cally a very pow­er­ful thing. Sim­i­larly, with my per­for­mances, I want my au­di­ence to leave changed by the mu­sic.”

Nakhane says the gut-wrench­ing open­ing track, Vi­o­lent Mea­sures, is one of his favourites, as it re­in­forces the idea of laugh­ing at your­self in try­ing cir­cum­stances.

“On some level, joy is com­bat in a world that gains from your pain and your self­hate, es­pe­cially as people of colour. Be­ing happy and smil­ing in the face of ad­ver­sity be­comes rev­o­lu­tion­ary, strangely enough. The simple fact that queer people ex­ist in the me­dia is rev­o­lu­tion­ary enough, even if they’re not ‘woke’. Be­ing vis­i­bly queer without any shame at­tached to it is pow­er­ful. A friend and I were jok­ing re­cently about how the al­bum’s mes­sage for us is ‘trauma, but make it fashion. That re­ally res­onates with me. It’s hard to make some­thing off-cen­tre but that’s the kind of work that’s more in­ter­est­ing for me,” he says.

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