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Meet Tash Manzungu, the Bulawayo songstress from the German band Port Joanna

Profiles & Interviews

Meet Tash Manzungu, the Bulawayo songstress from the German band Port Joanna

I’d love to show the boys where I’m from, I’d love for them to feel the energy Zimbabwe has.

tash manzungu natasha manzungu
Natasha Manzungu

1. Who is Tash Manzungu?

Tash Manzungu: She is me lol

First of all, before any of my attributes I pride myself in being a good person. I am also a singer/actress/lyricist.

2. What are her interests?

Tash Manzungu: I absolutely love the gym. I work out at least 4 times a week depending on what life is throwing at me. I love reading and learning. I’m a sucker for good conversations. I am also interested in fashion, makeup and interior design. as long as it involves art of any form I’m bound to be there.

3. How did you end up in Germany?

Tash Manzungu: I came here as an au pair. my mom really said I should go and queer far away from her so that’s how I ended up here. Unfortunately, when she passed I realized I had to stay, become myself and make something of myself.

4. How long did it take you to learn the language?

Tash Manzungu: I am still learning to be honest. I mean I understand and can hold a conversation, I even studied in the language. However, it still doesn’t come natural, I doubt it ever will but I still learn new words and phrases 9 years later.

5. How many languages do you speak now?

Tash Manzungu: I speak English, Ndebele/bad Zulu, Deutsch and Shona – in that order. I refuse to be tested in my Shona though. I still want to learn more languages – Portuguese is on the list and sign language and Swahili to name a few.

6. How did Port Joanna come together?

Tash Manzungu: While at Arts school, I met a girl who introduced me to our guitarist (Jannik Stumm). He had received a booking for a cover gig and asked me if I’d be keen. He then introduced me to bass player (Dario Leps) and drummer (Moritz Huth). We played that gig like we’d known each other for a long time before. So we met more regularly and rehearsed and the rest is history.

7. Which is your favourite song from Port Joanna?

Tash Manzungu: My favorite Port Joanna song hasn’t been released yet. It is titled ‘Redemption’ and I just love how we created it within an hour during one of our many rehearsals.

8. Who writes the songs?

Tash Manzungu: Me. But I’m open to sharing the load LOL some songs are a kind of collective writing as a band. Everyone plays their part. I wouldn’t be able to write without them. I’m lucky to have met amazing ears/composers.

9. Do you make music in African languages? And how is the reception?

Tash Manzungu: Yes, I always mix Ndebele into my music. I think Ndebele is a beautiful language and English isn’t always enough when I try to express myself. People have been warm to it. I’ve sometimes been asked after shows what certain things mean and I’m pretty sure they have different versions of the meaning.

10. Do you prefer being on stage or in the studio?

Tash Manzungu: I love being on stage. I’m always scared as hell. The smaller the crowd the more nervous I am but I love it. It’s real time, there’s so much energy surrounding me and building me up. I love that.  The studio is fun but kinda lonely.

11. How does Port Joanna grow from what it is now?

Tash Manzungu: Growth for Port Joanna means creating without fear. It also means marketing better. We aren’t a well-known band and I believe that’s a question of the above. We need to get more of our music out there and grow our “fan-base”. It’s harder than they make it look and I applaud every artist who has found a way to sell themselves because that’s not easy. So to grow we need to figure that bit out.

12. Do you ever think you will perform back home?

Tash Manzungu: It’s all I ever think about – I’d love to show the boys where I’m from, I’d love for them to feel the energy Zimbabwe has. I’d love to perform at home.

13. Which Zimbabwean artists would you be keen to collaborate with?

Tash Manzungu: Shasha, Kyla Blac, Nate, Asaph Afrika, Valee, Awa Khiwe, Kng Bl, I can’t wait to get to know more artists and their work. I truly believe we aren’t islands so I’d love to do one of those “collective albums” with a plethora of artists.

14. Has the Covid-19 pandemic had an impact on your plans as a band and on a personal level?

Tash Manzungu: Covid-19 really fumbled the bag for us. We had loads of concerts booked and had to cancel. So there’s a sense of loss this year for a lot of people but bills still need paying. It’s a difficult time for everyone but I have learnt a lot about myself in this time. The band and I have tried to use this time to create, to conceptualize and to just be.  This industry can be so draining and make you feel like you not on the right track but on learning thanks to Covid and his dirty paws to accept change and roll with the punches and to always, always, always be kind.

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