- Category: PA 2012
Born in Tanzania, poet, musician and MC, Tumi Molekane forms part of the popular group, Tumi and the Volume. He has spent years articulating the South African experience for foreign, enquiring minds in a live band context, earning himself peers on the international music scene.
Molekane leads what is arguably one of South Africa’s most electric music acts. Over a decade later, the group has managed to maintain a distinct musical accent that includes blends of samba, swing, hip hop, reggae and poetry that speaks to the unique reality of the South African experience, yet also relates to the world.
Tumi and the Volume's lyrics have been the subject of academic study in a book called Stealing Empire: P2P, Intellectual Property and Hip-Hop Subversion, which analysed the track 76 off their debut album, arguing that contemporary hip-hop offers critical insights into the inheritance of violence in post-apartheid South Africa.
As a poet, Molekane has been published in a variety of countries. His project, The Tao of Tumi was completed in 2001. That same year, he compiled a collection of poems entitled The Black Inside Out, then in 2006, he was published in the American literary journal, Subterranean Quarterly.
In 2009, Molekane released his album Whole Worlds, featuring cutting edge producers from various continents, namely, Rene ’Snaz’ Hill from Canada, Robin Hannibal Braun from Denmark, Kabir 'Kwality' Ahluwalia from India and Mason Black and Thabang ’PapercuTT’ Moloto from South Africa.
Of one of his icons, Sibongile Khumalo, with whom he has collaborated, Molekane says, “She introduced me to live music. I went to see her at the Market Theatre when I was about 22 and it was the first time I engaged with music properly. I’d never heard anything that powerful.”