After reaching Gold status on ‘Umbayimbayi’ just a week ago, Inkabi Zezwe keeps winning as the hit single is now Platinum with over 2.8 million streams.

The song is the gift that keeps giving as fans across the country have been enjoying ‘Umbayimbayi’ on streaming platforms. The song now reaching platinum status with 2.8 million streams is no surprise as days into its release it went #1 on various charts including Apple Music’s Top 25 Johannesburg, Durban, and Top 100 South Africa Charts.

Inkabi Zezwe
Inkabi Zezwe. Photo Credit: Warner Music Africa.

On the streaming platform today, ‘Umbayimbayi’ sits at #1 on the Mzansi Hits and Mzansi Soul playlists and the Top 25 Durban chart. Additionally, the song is currently #3 on Apple Music’s Top 100 South Africa chart and is still #1 on iTunes. On Spotify ‘Umbayimbayi’ maintains its #1 position on Made in South Africa playlist and holds the top position on the platform’s Hot Hits South Africa playlist as well. On YouTube, the song is a hit as it’s the top trending song, #1 on the Top 100 Songs South Africa chart, and boasts 818K streams on the official audio.

The song has been a massive hit on social media. Fans on TikTok have used the official audio 110K times. Celebrities including DJ Zinhle and Natasha Thahane have also shared snaps of them enjoying ‘Umbayimbayi’.

The single’s success just three weeks since its release on the 24th of March only proves just how much South Africa has been waiting for a collaboration of this magnitude. Still to come is Inkabi Zezwe’s album Ukhamba dropping on 12th May and their nationwide tour which commences on 24th June at Sunbet Arena in Time Square. Tickets to the tour are now available on Computicket HERE.

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Sjava, whose real name is Jabulani Hadebe was born in Bergville, KwaZulu-Natal in 1984.  He began exploring music at age 10, forming his own acapella group ‘Abafana base Mpumalanga’ but his entertainment career was set in motion when he took on acting, starring in popular television shows such as Zone 14 and uGugu no Andile. His debut album Isina Muva (2016) was his major transition into the music industry and earned him the ‘Best Produced Album’ awards at both the Metro FM and South African Music (SAMA) award ceremonies in 2017. That same year, Sjava won the first DStv Mzansi Viewer’s Choice Rising Star.

In 2018 Sjava was featured in the Kendrick Lamar-curated and Grammy-nominated Black Panther: The Album soundtrack. In the same year, the superstar won a BET award for ‘Best International Act’ and released his sophomore album Umqhele which scored him ‘Best Afro-Pop Album’ and “Album of the Year” wins at the 2019 SAMAs. His recent album Isibuko (2023) maintains Sjava’s dedication to highlighting the human experience with a rich, bulbous, and ethereal soundscape.

Inkabi Zezwe
Inkabi Zezwe. Photo Credit: Warner Music Africa.

Born Siyabonga Nene in Bergville, KwaZulu-Natal in 1987, Big Zulu transitioned into rap music in 2008 after a stint in the taxi industry. The rapper’s music is often filled with aspirational subject matter that fans have long gravitated towards. He melds Maskandi and Hip-Hop with his gripping flow and cadence. Ushun Wenkabi his debut album was released in 2018 but it was Zulu’s third album Ichwane Lenyoka (2021) that helped catapult him to superstardom.

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The album boasted the hits ‘Mali Eningi’ featuring Ntaba Yase Dubai and Riky Rick, ‘Inhlupheko’, featuring Mduduzi Ncube, and ‘Umuzi eSandton’ with Lwah Ndlunkulu. As a testament to his persistence and talent, Big Zulu has won several awards including “Song of the Year” for ‘Mali Eningi’ and ‘Album of the Year’ at the 2021 South African Hip Hop Awards. The superstar has also won the ‘Collaboration of the Year’ at the 27th annual SAMA awards.

Inkabi Zezwe
Inkabi Zezwe. Photo Credit: Warner Music Africa.

As a duo, Sjava and Big Zulu make up Inkabi Zezwe, a project that celebrates the connection they have as Zulu brothers and musicians. This collaboration places them at the precipice of an interesting moment in music and culture. Their music as individual artists travel back and forth through traditional isiZulu musical forms and more contemporary musical expressions. Sjava is R&B and Afropop / Hip-Hop inclined whereas Big Zulu uses Hip-Hop / Rap to negotiate his musical identity.

This ambivalence of genres is a prime opportunity to imagine and create music that is not only an autobiographical anecdote of their intimate worlds but as artists who are attentive to contemporary South Africa. Their new music explores everything that matters to them, love, intimacy, joy, aspiration, and people. Inkabi Zezwe is about community and the beauty of shared experiences.