Bitter Fruit – The Playlist

Two years ago, to the day, I came to both the end and the beginning. The end of being ithwasana, and the beginning of being isangoma. A lot has changed; a lot has remained the same. One of my gobelas once said to me, ‘Go thwasa ga go fele’. Every day is a new lesson, some of which are responses to or questioning, further, the experiences I wrote of in the piece ‘Bitter Fruit’, for the Culture Review Magazine anthology, The Lives of Black Folk (2021). What has not changed, is the comfort the songs I referenced has brought me. I compiled this playlist (with the help of, and gratitude to, Ngoma Makhosi). Hopefully, it will provide context for those who have read the essay or, simply, provide comfort or joy to those who need it.

On Bitter Fruit

“Katlego Tapala’s Bitter Fruit is poetically enthralling. One is taken through the journey of ukuthwasa [ancestral calling]. Like a fly on the wall, we journey through, and with, Tapala’s reawakening and rebirth. The spirit world is summoned. History is revisited. The contemporary is questioned. Who are we, how are we connected to those that have passed and why is death a constant feature of our lives?” – Zimasa Mpemnyama, Herri.


1. Angilalanga – Tlale Makhene
2. Lwandle – Spirit and Bones Ensemble
3. Jo Kgalefô – Jerusalema e Ncha
4. Ubombo – Madala Kunene
5. Ngathwasa Kanzima – Mkhulu Mkhatswa
6. Amanz’ Amnyama – Spirit and Bones Ensemble
7. Ngihawukele Thonga Lami – Susan Hendricks and the Traditional Healers
8. Spirit – Kwesta ft Wale

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