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Front row with moyo11moyo of Shwelabana

Photography by Reef Sithole

Front row with moyo11moyo of Shwelabana

Johannesburg feels like such an interesting place to be right now in terms of culture regenerating. The bourgeoning arts & culture scene is reinvigorating an exciting yet evolved energy into the city. At the epicentre of this collision of artistic mediums is Music – from albums, records, mixtapes, live performances, recording artists, producers & deejays – you name it.

This is where things get particularly interesting for us at FRM, as we always feel compelled to putting our entire audience in the front row of what's happening within the local underground arts & culture scene – and today is no different. My next interviewee is a flamboyant figure within this emanating youth-driven movement and goes by the name of Orebotse Diseko, better known as 'moyo11moyo'.

Photography by Bl33d

In my short period of time knowing Moyo and cultivating a friendship, I noticed that he isn't a man of many words when it doesn't pertain to the art. I personally think that is intentional; remember that we also live in an age where social media distractions and sensationalisms can really detract from an upcoming artist's focus on their actual career. Moyo chooses to channel his wide scope of commentary through making music and garments, with close friend and creative padre, Reef Sithole, under their creative moniker, 'Shwelabana'.

Photography by Shanti Cullis

This young artist is redefining the term "new wave" in his own unique way – with an alternative sound which bounces between an eclectic range of sounds including alt pop, early 2010s alt rock, jazz, traditional rap, and more. If you're looking for a tasty sample – stream his single 'I Might' and tell me what you think. He's also got some unreleased music featured on a recent Sol-Sol campaign, directed by local stylist and creative visionary, Jeremie Bisimwa.

I managed to virtually engage Moyo in order to understand more about what it means to be an independent upcoming artists in Jozi right now, his feelings towards his most recent EP offering, 'Abundance', running Shwela with Reef, upcoming music, and more.

Would you mind introducing yourself and including a short description of what you do?

Moyo: Salaam my family. My name is moyo11moyo and I’m a multidisciplinary artist and designer. I’m mainly a fashion designer but also experimenting with sound.

Where does the 'moyo11moyo' alias come from and what does it mean?

Moyo: Honestly it was so random. It started with the double one – me, my cousin (sgonondo11) and my younger brother were just repping "11" since we young laities.

Then 'Moyo' means 'heart' in Swahili.

Let's talk for a bit about your most recent full offering – your EP 'Abundance'. How do you feel about the project and its reception?

Moyo: Abundance was amazing. I loved making that project so much and it was kind of my first time working on something like that and really coming out as a musician. And the reception was pretty chilled – I feel like we just ahead of time and people are still trying to understand the vision.

Who did you collaborate with in order to put the EP together?

Moyo: The EP was crazy half of it was recorded a couple of years ago, and the other half was done in a week or so with this amazing producer Jesse Elk. What a crazy motherf**ker – amazing artist.

Tell me more about Shwelabana. Do you feel as if there are any consistencies between Shwela and moyo11moyo?

Moyo: Shwela is my baby so ofcourse there are consistencies. That’s my swag.

You recently dropped a few singles on streaming platforms, 'I might', 'Time machine' feat. and 'P0l0w'. What is the inspiration behind the sound and aesthetic of these songs?

Moyo: Right now I’m honestly just enjoying the process of making music. I'm just vibing and jumping into different pockets.

Is there another project in the works? EP or even possibly album?

Moyo: Uhm, I mean we have a lot of music which we don’t know what to do with. So maybe we'll will compile an EP soon – who knows.

Is there any advice which you could maybe impart onto upcoming artists, like yourself, trying to establish themselves as successful musicians and designers?

Moyo: I don’t know hey I’m not too good at this! And I don’t think I’ve established myself on that level just yet – I’m still a young upcoming n*gga too.


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