The recent spike in violence against women and children has had a profound influence on Amanda Black. One particular incident, the grotesque murder of Karabo Mokoena, moved her so deeply that she felt compelled to express her feelings the best way she knows how, through her music.
“I’ve never been through it, I’ve never experienced it myself personally. But the way that I was touched, I was like this can’t be. This has been happening to our grandparents and even before that. I just felt I needed to say something about it.”
When she started writing, she found herself telling the story from the perspective of a woman in an abusive relationship and the emotions she must be going through to endure it.
“I imagined the women, I imagined what I think happens in their minds. I may be wrong, but that’s what this song is about. It’s about evoking emotion; it’s about evoking compassion and taking a step back from being judgmental of someone else’s life that you know nothing about. I felt like I was doing that and maybe we need to look at this differently.”
This process gave birth to her new single, Thandwa Ndim, which was released yesterday through a partnership between her new start-up record label, AfroRockstar Productions, and Sony Music Entertainment Africa.
The character that Black portrays in Thandwa Ndim grapples with the thought: “Who will love me if I leave him?”
Because of the emotional and psychological abuse she’s had to endure, she is so broken down and this is all she knows. Black wanted to express how instead of being judgmental of victims of abuse, we should express love, compassion and support.
“I feel women need to show up for each other. It’s a big dream seeing the way things are, but it’s not impossible. The other side of the meaning, ‘you’ll be loved by me’, deals with the core issues of why I believe someone would stay in a relationship like that and it all boils down to self-love. When you look in the mirror and you don’t see good, you’ve lost yourself. And I’ve been through it.
“There have been times in my life when I’ve looked in the mirror and I didn’t even recognise myself. Now imagine if somebody day in and day out is telling you that you’re ugly and worthless, what that kind of damage can do to you. You’ll look in the mirror and you’ll see ugly.”
On a personal level, Black is in a better space than she has been in a while. Over the past year or so, she has had to grow – personally and musically – and learn to overcome the challenges that came with the success of her hit single, Amazulu.
“It was a culture shock. I did not expect it to be easy, I just didn’t expect the details of the difficulties. I knew there would be struggles and I’m glad that the learning curve came in the beginning. It looks so glamorous on the outside, but inside it’s not.”
Coming off the back of Amazulu’s incredible run, Black had to learn to embrace the pressure that it came with.
Now she’s at a stage where she wants to evolve and take her music and brand to the next level.
To support this vision, Black recently started her own record label.
She shopped around and considered her options as an artist who wanted to be independent and recover her power.
“A big part of this partnership was about the ownership of my music.
“I needed some of it to belong to me. I deserve it, I work hard, I bleed for this music. Sony was the best choice.
“The team embraced me.”
She hopes her latest song reaches people’s hearts and believes it is “the start of something amazing”.
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