By: Nosipho Mkhize
Born in Durban, on the 3rd of August 1996 and raised in Richards Bay from the age of 4, it was clear from the start this was not going to be an ordinary child as his mother and father, both being creatives, met in the arts space of the Bat Centre in Durban and needless to say, the rest is in the music. Swazi Manana (now aged 21) had a special destiny set out for him already. It is no surprise that we find him in the arts, hustling his way to be the next AKA, with just a little bit more ‘sauce”. Much like the Touch My Blood, Supa Mega, with the digital marketing company called Third World Beam, Swazi has also got big business ventures in the media space himself, if not better.
While working on his rap album and attending music classes on Saturdays to improve his productive skills, his company, Now Exhale Creative Studios is a newly registered empire that is an umbrella of all things design. Whether be it graphics, melody, beats, clothing, photography, cinematography or fine art, you may find yourself being recruited by Now Exhale and joining the team of young creatives. Swazi explains that his company is not about doing PR for one particular artist or promoting a particular discipline, but is about collaborations and bringing together creative minds to showcase different talents. An annual campaign called And We Rise is currently underway and there is already a team of 8 directors in the company that’s making sure that everything is moving forward. The campaign is said to not just be an event but a gathering for people to be entertained and informed – an exhibition of a collection of creative forms.
When asked how far Swazi thinks of going with his investments, he serves a quote from his business icon and mentor, Vusi Thembekwayo, saying “Never think small” and he doesn’t. Swazi has already tapped into the international market through his music and social media interactions, but he says he is in no rush. As he is based in Richards Bay and attending music lessons in Durban, he is still fine tuning his skills and preparing himself for when the time comes for him to really deliver. “I don’t believe in jumping the gun,” he says, “You need to wait for the right time to release your work, but yet again, you must be smart enough not to wait too long and let an opportunity pass you by.” With a great team around him, I’m sure he won’t miss it.
“Surround yourself with creative people,” he continues; “That’s how your craft stays alive,” and you can’t be wrong about that. As a creative person you constantly need creative people around you, to inspire you, advise you and soldier you on. Swazi surrounds himself with his day1s and continues to make new connections where needed. With artists like Bandile around him, Mlu on music, Sanele with killer videos, Renegade having helped him with his first EP back in the day and Salema also being a music guru, we are still to see great things from Swazi, as an artist and a businessman. When asked about romance though, he said “Ngisuthi,” meaning, “I’m full”. We’re not exactly sure what that really means, but you can get a sense that his mind is not on girls right now. The young man is too focused on his hustle and we wish him all the best. May the 20/20 vision surely come alive.