root - February 27, 2024

Bulelani Mvunyiswa’s hard work and passion for music have brought him a long way

Peter Luhanga 

Emerging from a backyard shack off the crowded streets of Dunoon, is a gospel musician who has become a symbol of hope and inspiration. 

Through gospel music, Bulelani Mvunyiswa, 30, has transcended his humble beginnings and been transported to his current environs of middle class Parklands, from whence his soulful melodies and uplifting lyrics continue to captivate audiences.

Mvunyiswa’s musical journey began in 2013 when he first discovered his passion for singing.

He says he was inspired by the late renowned gospel musician Sifiso Cwani, finding solace and inspiration in the powerful messages conveyed through Cwani’s music.

His talent quickly gained recognition, and in 2013 he released his first single, which he composed and performed himself.

He says the song resonated deeply with audiences, and he found himself performing at various events, schools, and church conferences in his rural home of Sibangweni, Umtata, in the Eastern Cape.

As his popularity grew, so did the demand for more of his music. Encouraged by his fans, he decided to take his music to the next level and in 2014 he made the bold move to relocate to Cape Town, settling in Dunoon.

Three years of hard work and dedication later, he released his debut album featuring 12 original tracks. The album was a testament to his talent and passion for gospel music, with the hit song “Yawa le Mbewe” quickly becoming a fan favourite.

The release of the album marked a turning point in Mvunyiswa ’s career, catapulting him to stardom within the genre. 

In 2018, he was invited to various community radio stations for interviews, where he shared his journey and music with a wider audience.

Just before the Covid-19 pandemic hit, Mvunyiswa started working on his 10-track second album, released in January 2020. Unfortunately, the pandemic struck, forcing the country into a hard lockdown. This made it challenging for him to market the album fully, so he relied on social networking platforms such as Facebook to promote and sell the album.

Despite the challenges, he continued to connect with his fans, selling singles and the complete album titled “Mhlengi wamu uyaphila” for R100 on digital platforms.

He says the most loved and popular track in this album is “Ndigcobe Jesu” (Anoint me, Jesus).

He says it was difficult to promote the album during the Covid-19 pandemic but innovative approach to marketing paid off, with his fans showing tremendous support for his music. He says fans often reached out to him directly to purchase songs from the album, which he would send via WhatsApp, as many cars nowadays do not come with CD players but have Bluetooth capability. 

When the curfew was lifted during the Covid hard lockdown he was able to produce CDs, and one local church bought 50 CDs at a time.

Through his hard work and dedication to his music, Mvunyiswa’s life has taken a remarkable turn. From a backyard shack to Parklands where he enjoys the comforts of a modern flat, made possible by his earnings from selling his music and working as a supervisor at a private security company in Table View. His success has not only transformed his living conditions but also his wardrobe, as he proudly flaunts designer clothes and shoes.

“I love to represent myself in a good way in front of my fans … buying decent clothes mixing it with designer clothes to attract the souls that I want to win in Christ using gospel music,” says Mvunyiswa.

He says his fans are proud of him with his taste for clothes but he still remains a humble person.

“Sometimes fame change people’s character, but I am still the same Bulelani,” he says. 

Among his devoted fans is 37-year-old Durbanville resident, Xolelwa Pali. 

Pali says she started following Mvunyiswa in 2021 after discovering him on YouTube.

“I have a deep love for gospel music, and when I stumbled upon his songs, I was immediately captivated. There’s one in particular, ‘Yawa lembewu’, that truly moves me; it makes me feel the presence of God every time he sings it,” says Pali.

She said she’s been an avid follower ever since.

Another fan, Anelisa Bengwa, residing in Kuilsriver, says she began listening to Mvunyiswa’s music in 2018.

“There was a song that touched me, and the name of the song is ‘Andesabi lutho’. Bulelani is a very humble artist whose songs have had a positive impact on the lives of many people. He is doing an incredible job of spreading the uplifting message of gospel music,” said Bengwa. 

Sinovuyo Nyobo from Parklands says that despite being friends with Mvunyiswa on Facebook, she was unaware of his musical talent until she stumbled upon his music videos on his timeline. “I couldn’t believe it was him when I saw his music videos. His music is very nice and good. When I started listening to his music, I was like, ‘This is Bulelani!’ I was so shocked. He has so much energy, and I can tell that he loves what he is doing. He has a vibe for singing,” said Nyobo.

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