It is very refreshing to hear of someone from ekasi specialising in something different to the norm – like specialising in film scores. Okay, just so we’re on the same page, a film score is the background music composed for different scenes of a film in order to enhance the dramatic narrative and the impact of a certain scene. Zethu Mashika is one of those special, rare and interesting cases.
Born in Benoni in the East Rand, the humble 27 year old Zethu is a music composer specialising in film scores, commercial music, title sequences and adverts. He has been part of the music industry for 8 years and continues to make an impact in the industry. He is one of South Africa’s youngest and first black composers to single-handedly score a feature film. He has written scores mostly for television and documentaries. His work includes the title sequence music for SABC 1’s Mzanzi Insider, Zwahashu, and Channel O’s Mcee Africa season one. He has composed scores for films such as Sky and Minutes to Nine, and has recently completed scoring for the forthcoming local feature film, Zama Zama. He has produced and composed for various artists such as H2O, Flabba, Zulu Mob, and Psyfo. In 2009, he produced and composed SABC 2’s election song performed by RJ Benjamin and Bongo Riot.
Music vs Expectations
It’s hard to believe that his talent is raw and untrained. His parents didn’t like the idea of him doing music. As a result, he was forced to make a quick decision to study something “solid.” After he matriculated, Zethu enrolled for an electro-mechanical engineering course at TUT. While at university, he struggled to shake off the music bug and this saw him eventually drop out during his first year to pursue his passion.
A friend hooked him up with artists like Flabba, H2O and Zulu Mob, for which he produced beats. His influence within the Hip Hop community was quickly recognized, but his focus was to get into the film industry. His career as producer within the music industry didn’t take off as he had wished – but he was glad it didn’t, because he believes it could’ve been harder to get into the film industry as a Hip Hop producer. He had always wanted to do film, but he thought it was almost impossible as the film industry was quite small at the time.
The first film he scored for was a short film from AFDA. This strengthened his profile and he used Read the full story
Tell us about yourself?
I am Thabo Moloi, originally from kwaMachisiba in Pietermatrizburg. I am a freelance graphic designer and a photographer. I design logos, t-shirt, business cards, and more. And as a photographer, I enjoy pushing the boundaries of creativity. I have a passion for community development, education, and sharing knowledge. I am a radical Christian and a huge fan of Mzansi Hip Hop.
Who inspires you?
Zibusiso Mkhwanazi, founder of CrazyBoyz Digital and the AmaKipKip guys: Nkosana Modise and Siyabonga Ngwekazi. I feel they have changed the game and are now reaping the rewards of their hard work.
How do you define success?
Success is personal. Often we place benchmarks on success based on material things, such as what car you drive and where you live. However, to me, it is about doing what you love and helping others in the process. I’ve seen many people who are said to be successful but have separated themselves from their communities. Your success should open doors for others.
Every now and then I am blessed enough to meet individuals whose lives excite me so much so that I ignore the facts and figures of how unemployment, poverty and crime bring down this country of ours. It is people like Pule EARM Motloung, the founder of Young Minds Productions, who through their lives and passion inspire me to be much more than I am. I love meeting young black men and women from the hood who rise above the stereotypical view that township life is about dust, corrugated iron shacks, “stop nontsontso” fencing and abolova sitting in the corner doing nothing everyday.
Recently the University of Johannesburg Soweto campus successfully hosted a private screening of a film called Soweto Drift. The film was directed by one Mzansi’s most promising and gifted film directors Pule, a young man who refused to be told “You can’t” by experts, professionals and know-it-alls with years of experience in the industry. When money was an issue, when time became a factor and when critics said “No” what kept Pule going during the 3 years it took to make the film was the passion and dedication he has towards his craft. The director, father and dream chaser took the initiative to show, highlight and celebrate the silent yet noisy world of car spinning.
The film was shot in the heart of Soweto and set around realistic everyday characters we can all relate to. The movie introduces us to a young taxi driver and struggling father named Dumisani, nicknamed Damage, who is on a journey towards finding out the truth about what events led to the death of his hero and brother Mzala, who was one of the best car spinners in the hood. After being forced by a gang leader named Chairman as well as a sworn enemy named Ngamla to take part in one of the most prestigious spinning competitions of the season, we watch Damage take a drastic yet necessary turn in his character, career and life as a whole. The twists, turns and secrets are then slowly revealed and force Damage to come out of his comfort zone and become the best that he can be.
The film’s genre is in a class of its own in that it is a combination of comedy, drama and sport fused with raw talent fused from the backbone of ekasi. The film achieved everything it set out to achieve; it showcased and exposed us to unscripted, adrenalin rushing car spinning. The soundtracks were fresh and relevant to each scene, the dialogue kept audiences intrigued and entertained while at the same time schooling us about the world of burning tyres, mags, spinners, speed and BMWs. The film created a much needed awareness about spinning industry and will be released to the public in 2012. Not everyone will be able to identify with the storyline but watching it is definitely worth the thrill! It is through Pule EARM and films such as this that indeed agree and back up the famous saying “Ikasi livukile”.