By Genevieve Serra
While Landile Sokweba searched homes for criminals as a security guard, he always dreamed of one day becoming an award-winning maskandi artist.
Now Sokweba, 35, of Langa, Cape Town, has four awards to his name.
Sokweba’s dream was realised when he was awarded the Best Maskandi Artist at the fourth Eastern Cape Music Awards (ECMSA) in December 2019.
He launched his first album in April 2019, titled Ndize Ngokwam, which means “I came by myself”. Maskandi is a traditional music form.
This year, Sokweba, who goes by the stage name Xhentsa Kumisiwe, won three additional awards from ECMSA for his contribution last year.
He was flown to the Eastern Cape on March 20, where he was handed awards for Best Maskandi Artist of 2020, Artist of the Year and Most Voted Artist.
According to ECMSA’s Facebook page, Xhentsa had been nominated in September and he featured on their poster for the award ceremony, this year. He has since been featured on numerous radio stations and has a Facebook page.
When Sokweba is not making music, he has, since 2008, worked as a security guard.
“You never know what is going to happen when you respond to an emergency or alarm alert at a house,” he said. “Growing up in the Eastern Cape, I was part of the school choir. I moved to Cape Town as a young man, but always had a dream of pursuing my music career.”
Then he hit the recording studios and eight months after his first album was released, he had already been nominated and won.
He is now working on his second album.
“When people look at me as a Fidelity guard, they think how is it that he is also doing maskandi music?” he said. “I am so grateful to everyone who believes in me, even my colleagues.
“I am working on my second album, which will be released in June and will be called: Ibuyile Imanejala, which means, ‘I came back again’.
“People probably thought, I was just going to make one album. But, I am coming back.”
Sokweba’s colleague, Leighton Fuscher, said he was proud of him: “Even though he won all these awards, he has always remained humble. He is a true example of hard work and dedication, not only with his music but with his employment as a response officer.”