Siyabonga Mthembu grew up in Kempton Park Tembisa in the East Rand of Johannesburg. Mthembu’s practice incorporates the collaborative dimension of storytelling in the context of the transformations that led to Nelson Mandela becoming president of South African in 1994.
Shiraz Bayjoo, Zot Konn - Yeman, in collaboration with Nicolas Faubert & Siyabonga Mthembu, Diaspora Pavilion 2, Venice (2022)
Known also by the alias ‘Hymn_self,’ Mthembu is the lead vocalist of The Brother Moves On (TBMO), a band and performance art ensemble that he formed with his later brother Nkululeko and cousin Zelizwe in 2009. The band grew through collaborations and contaminations, questioning ‘what is it to be rhymythically South African’ and reinforcing the understanding of jazz as an indigenous knowledge system and network of consciousness stretching across the American and African continents. Mthembu is co-curator, with Thandi Ntuli, of Indaba Is, a compilation taking South African improvised music in the context of kinship and communal ties as an established form of ancestral knowledge passed down through generations.