Mandisa Nduna, reintroduced as ZuluMecca, is what I’d like to coin as a seasoned freshman. Based on a true pen, her story entails the coming of age tale of carefully calculated reinvention. ZuluMecca painstakingly crafts her process around patience and caution, having been marred previously by hasty decision making that landed her a horrendous 360 deal.
Revising the prologue of her new manuscript with [STAY LOW] after a short stint of rebirth in the form of her previous body of work Of Angels and Ancestors, “Holy Water (Mamas Prayer)”, “Food and Liquor” and “Good Gods (Freestyle)”, where she established herself as a supernatural entity having a human experience and dwelling far too long in the realm of existentialism pertaining to spirituality in its varying shapes and sizes.
True to this tradition, she has entrenched into her holistic being, rarely separating her spiritual gift as a traditional healer from her music; her new offering FABLE plays right into her philosophical element in the most humanly palatable manner.
The ethos of this parable is simple: ZuluMecca is stuck in a prisoners dilemma with Lucifer’s favourite shade of lipstick: a hint of temptation.
The cross-road plaguing Meccas’ flawed scope for humanity is the shroud of doubt that comes with winning the hearts of thousands, etching a spec of international acclaim as breathe of fresh glitch in the Industry matrix to veering into the courts of the mainstream to avoid the stigma of being a lyrical miracle, to put it loosely.
The simulation says, we want drama, we want larger than life, we want extravagance, this boom and bap won’t rack these racks and against the suggestive gravity of the lady in red somehow she Neo’d her way into being the Mecca we are getting to know and love. Here’s the trouble about being the one, it is daunting to live outside of the simulation in the rabbit hole of the real, especially when the matrix can easily ask.
Oh yes “we know that you’re gifted but do you get b***hes?”
Contrary to the sample that suggests that Mecca hasn’t branded her concept, one might suggest that she fears being boxed into that very concept and has to veer off into underlying parables that can make her palatable while staying on brand, a feat effortlessly achieved in “Head Over Healing” (featuring Mars Baby).
The Mars Baby-produced record throws caution to the wind, delving into a toxic relationship that seethes into attachments issues as the protagonist narrates in first person dedicate a poetic ballad to a partner who’s not good for them, choosing their intoxicating darkness over the healing that awaits them on the other side of therapy or leaving the relationship altogether.
Mars Baby croons an encrypted hook coated in a lo-fi-esque ambience dramatically mirroring the conflicting weight of unexplainable entanglement.
Closing off the parable is a dance with the practicality of the ten commandments; specifically, thou shall not kill & thou shall not steal. We find the protagonist (probably drunk off the hazy commands of their toxic relationship) deciding to rob and murder a preacher and the moral discourse to be had from that conversation.
On the one end, the pastor will echo how money is the root of all evil yet is seemingly reaping from the “blessing” of its charitable delivery every Sunday, seeing no better alternative in the land of the free where opportunities are for sale.
The protagonist hits the proverbial lick and gets away with murder, being found guilty by the court of their own conscious justifying their actions with the rhetoric that the preacher man was just as fallible, if not more corrupt yet the velvet glove of the cloth gave him a better political stance in the community.
Thus concludes the short story extended the run of philosophical melancholy, nuancing the undertone of ZuluMeccas prisoners dilemma. Does she regurgitate the red pill and trade it for the blue instead? Can she balance the business while maintaining her artist integrity?
Is “Head Over Healing” and “Starving” an interlinked Parable of how hunger in all its forms dwindles you into a rabbit hole for merciless emptiness? One might say an interview might shed light on the curiosity bubbling from digesting this body of work.
I find this unique parallel between Mick Jenkins and ZuluMecca, where the potency levels of their breakthrough offerings are niche in nature, and their evolution makes them more palatable without them sacrificing the discourse of their artistic quality.
As far as ZuluMecca goes, we are still diving into the world of spirituality and philosophy, making it more digestible, human, and the makings of vinegar truths sugar-coated with chamomile.
ZuluMecca speaks her language on the average joes terms, doing a fine job and making her message universal and accessible. I look forward to more parables with stranger morals as per dancing with two left feet? I feel you; I’m on the same boat, freestyle swimming in the Atlantic ocean with you.
Listen to ZuluMecca’s FABLE EP below and stream it elsewhere here.
Words by Malibongwe Sicelo Cedric Dladla