White maskandi artist inspired by Clegg


WHOEVER said white men have no rhythm, should think again. David Jenkins, 25, better known as Qadasi, not only plays the Zulu guitar but has the moves to complement his sound.

His music, inspired by “general life experiences and current South African and world issues”, has been blasting on traditional music radio shows for the past seven years. He has been singing traditional Zulu songs around the city since the age of 13.

Jenkins did not grow up speaking fluent Zulu but it developed over time as his interest in the culture grew and he eventually studied the language as a matric subject and was fluent by the time he started his professional career in Durban.

Qadasi is now an accomplished guitarist, concertina and banjo player. He developed a deep passion for the Zulu culture and music at a young age and as a result, his love for maskandi was born.

White maskandi artist Qadasi. Picture: Supplied

He matriculated in 2010 and released his first studio album under Sibongiseni Shabalala’s (Ladysmith Black Mambazo band member) record label, Sande Entertainment. His second album was released in 2014 and earned him a first South African Music award as well as a South African Traditional Music Award nomination.

He’s excited about this year’s Satma awards which will honour musical legends and is hoping for a nomination.

“I am excited to see the developments and in particular their recognition of South African traditional music legends who, as upcoming artists, are our inspiration and mentors,” Jenkins said.

He grew up in the heart of Zululand in Empangeni with his father who was a journalist. Qadasi told Weekend Argus they had “ travelled extensively together throughout” Empangeni and “this was ultimately how my interest in the Zulu culture sparked”.

Curious about the culture and rhythmic elements of the music, Qadasi found himself learning Zulu and how to play instruments synonymous with maskandi (traditional Zulu) music.

“Music is such a huge part of Zulu culture and I was fascinated by their different styles of traditional music, which are all incredibly powerful,” he added.

When he was 12, he taught himself how to play the Zulu guitar and concertina which are key instruments in the maskandi genre. “My passion and skills grew from strength to strength and I later decided to pursue my dream of becoming a professional musician,” explained Qadasi.

Following in the footsteps of legendary musician Johnny Clegg, who recently announced his retirement from the industry, Qadasi said one of his career highlights was opening for Clegg at the 2015 South African Music Awards.

Qadasi said he “became entranced by musical legends such as Phuzekhemisi, Mfaz’ Omnyama, Mgqashiyo Ndlovu and the legendary ‘white Zulu’, Johnny Clegg”. Their sound drew him closer to what would eventually becom