I first watched Berita Khumalo at Lake of Stars Festival, Malawi back in 2018. Amidst the festival excitement, her velvet vocals hushed an antsy, excitable crowd shortly before headliners Sauti Sol took to the stage. Strumming guitar in one hand, she intermittently flashed a gorgeous smile as we swayed along transfixed.
It was from that point I was absolutely hooked!
Fast-forward to now, Berita, whose real name is Gugulethu Khumalo, has been hard at work populating her fourth studio album titled ‘Songs in The Key of Love’. Her latest single Siyathandana features Amanda Black and combines two of my soul music favourites; nostalgic visuals (sbwl) and hair raising vocals share between the two queens.
‘Working with Berita was really easy and fun, we share love and passion for music, we’ve come a long way together and I am glad we now have a song together,’ elaborated Amanda Black.
‘Siyathanda’ means ‘to love one another’ in isiZulu. This is reiterated in the visuals as Amanda and Berita watch a reel of projected cute family and couple goals videos in what looks like an empty theatre. Dressed in Xhosa regalia designed by SAn designer Scalo, the ladies look almost ethereal.
Playing is a montage of homemade videos is collected from Berita’s fans, friends and family inspired by social media posts during the lockdown. It’s easy to spot some familiar faces such as the newlywed couples Somizi and Mohale, Dineo and Solo Langa, actress Ntando Duma and daughter Sbahle Mzizi.
I do have a few small-nyana qualms with the direction of the video, but the black love theme makes up for it. Not to mention the velvety, hairs-on-end vocals from the two.
Siyathandana is the perfect lobolo/lobola soundtrack and speaks to the beauty of love in whatever shape or form it may take. It’s a necessary theme at a time we all feel so distant during the pandemic. Also, I couldn’t imagine a better combination, because let’s face it; Berita and Amanda Black do love to sing about love.
And why wouldn’t they?
They seem pretty great at it.
We give the visuals a 7 and the song a doubtless 10 out of 10.
Listen to it below.