The African Indigo, known to his friends and family as Simba Makhatha, is a 22-year-old South African Rap artist from Midrand (Gauteng) who serves his truth coated in a wavy vibe. He uses his unique style and tone to touch on subjects such as the human condition and his views on how to heal it. By exposing his vices, which to him represent the vices of his generation, he provides a broad insight on the narrative of a Born-Free. As a child Simba searched for an outlet to express his creativity, sparking his relationship with the arts. After being taken by classic dance movies, like Rise and Stomp The Yard, Simba then found his first love, Dancing. Attending Halfway House Primary school at the time, their love affair would be his solace and the one thing that he would take with him on his odyssey. He was particularly fond of the passion and rhythm of KRUMP. He was obsessed with its ability to transform even the most negative of feelings into something beautiful, something beyond himself, into art.
Though, our young renegade only began finding his voice when he took on the voices of other people. Through acting out the intricacies of other people’s lives, he began to make sense of the details of his own. Drama to him, was a way to experience different perspectives and layers so that he could clear some of the confusion cause by his sudden hormonal and mental shift. It was at his High school, St Peter’s Colleges, which this happened. He was also active on the sports scene, playing basketball, rugby and soccer. These served as tools he used to link with his peers, but also made him realise that he himself was a link in the chain of the universe. He graduated in 2013 as a Prefect and Head of Matric Drama, earning himself accolades such as Most Promising Actor and Best Actor. He was also a member of the St Peter’s College Dance Crew, he helped them win the Inter-High Dance Competition in 2012. He then moved to Cape Town after High school to study at UCT, which served as a portal into himself. This is where he met his true love, Rapping.
UCT was a mecca of young creative intellectuals, this created a favourable environment for growth and self-exploration. Perhaps this is why he was never really interested in his studies, too much ‘exploration’. He hardly attended class or did any work, he was too mesmerized by the blinding light of independence. For the first time he was living on his own. His voice became easier to hear; but it was still being drowned out by the loud sound of stress caused by academic and financial pressures. As the pressure increased he dove more and more into his coping mechanism, music. He then began freestyling in Leo Marquad Hall over online beats with his friends. Rapping was a way to alleviate the noise caused by the external world, as well as a method to settle the turbulence of his internal state. He would always find time to be present at the Cypher circle that would form on Campus every Wednesday; just watching and listening trying to muster up the confidence to share his art. In time this confidence was gained. As he got more into rapping, his purpose became clear; but first he had to get rid of the noise. He dropped out and moved back to Midrand to chase his newly birthed dream.
His debut project, released on 27 November 2016, was an ode to the influences that made him. ‘Prelude: The Story of Simba The Sinister Sun’ serves as an audio dairy, giving a raw, personal look into his growth process. In this genre defying project you can hear his influences, ranging from Ab Soul all the way to Flume. His dislike for convention and structure is evident in his eccentric track list. It read:
We meet the kid, Simba, who is a cesspool of thoughts and emotions; Love, hate, existence, non-existence, Euphoria, and Depression. His mind forever racing, his world forever cindering any shred of hope he places on it. Yet despite his hostile environment, he knows in his heart of hearts it will be okay and finds solace in dreaming. His true art. Time passes. His inner conflict has not dimmed, he has just developed more sophisticated ways of dealing with the noise. He does this by pouring himself into his distractive tools- Partying, Writing, and his favourite of all: other people. Recently he has noticed that he finds pieces of himself in other people, and this for him is enough reason to believe we are all ultimately different expressions of the same consciousness. This consciousness being what is commonly referred to as God. He then begins to ponder the current state of the environment he calls home. There’s one particular concept that keeps popping up in his head upon his reflections, Relative Deprivation. He soon realises that the feeling of inferiority is the root of the hatred that has consumed his nation, and him too. More time passes as he consciously watches this hatred and realises that it is just misinterpreted love, you see humans are social creatures. We search for connection and if we feel disconnected our perception becomes tainted, darker, and more aggressive. The answer then lies in Perception, and since everybody’s perceives differently depending on their experiences and beliefs; the true answer lies within us, our mind. God is in our hands. Simba then sets out to transform this confused energy back into its original form, the formlessness of love. This love begins to transform him into someone else, into something else. Although his essence remains unchanged, it is the awareness of this essence that triggers the transformation. It is clear he is not Just Simba anymore, he no longer drowns in the noise, in fact it no longer sounds like noise; it sounds like destiny’s call. A call to unite a generation, a call to become the African Indigo.
He is set to release a single from his upcoming project, titled: The Birth of AI, on the 4th of April; which also happens to be his birthday. The project is set to release later on this year. It is a continuation of his Prelude tape. African Indigo aims to expose both the beauty and the cruelty of the world we inhabit, in a manner that reflects the struggles and achievements of his generation. I suggest you press play and fill in the rest of the blanks yourself.
Facebook: African Indigo
Soundcloud: African Indigo(AI)