You Will Not Die by Nakhane

You Will Not Die by Nakhane

Seamlessly blending soul and electronic music, Nakhane’s new album, titled You Will Not Die, is an alluring fusion of sounds with the singer’s smooth, haunting voice gliding over the piano, guitar, synthesizers and (occasionally) subdued choral humming. While exploring themes of love and sexuality, the album also illuminates how much he has grown as an artist and, perhaps more importantly, as a person.

Nakhane revisits his past, digging up his old self, loved ones, and all sorts of other moments and memories from dusty boxes, excesses, and absences. He seems to be remembering as an act of renewal and restoration. Remembering as a form of redemption. The lyrical content is raw, vulnerable, and extremely intoxicating. It’s poetic without being pretentious. It’s as indeterminate as it is literal.


Interloper, the latest single from the project, kicks off with breathy vocals and tingly riffs. Towards the end of the song, Nakhane’s voice upsurges, just in case you doubted his sonority. The song’s music video, directed by Mark Middlewick, sees the singer dancing freely and fluidly against a dark backdrop dressed in a custom Rich Mnisi silver sequin suit with his torso exposed and feet bare. The song has a soulful groove and Nakhane revisits the church – having grown up in a deeply religious community (he has since given up Christianity)- to borrow the choir’s harmonies.

One can’t help but wonder whether the album title also draws inspiration from the death threats that Nakhane received after starring in Inxeba, a movie about sexuality and masculinity set against a Xhosa initiation school. The movie received a lot of backlash with protesters claiming their right to privacy with regards to culture was violated.

What’s apparent, however, is that this body of work is a declaration that no matter what happens, we will be okay. For all its melancholy, You Will Not Die is optimistic.

Feature Image: Tarryn-Hatchett

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