Maverick Life

At home with … Playwright Buhle Ngaba, musician Langa Mavuso and artist David Scott

By Jabulile Dlamini-Qwesha 31 July 2020

From left to right: The Kiffness - David Scott, Buhle Ngaba and Langa Mavuso (Images courtesy of the artists)

With so little to distract us from our anxieties, time under lockdown has given many of us a necessary moment of stillness to face up to our deepest truths.

While the journey to self-actualisation can be petrifying even under normal circumstances, catalysts for distress become trickier to discern when you’re pushed into it amid global chaos. That’s what makes the self-care rituals we adopt in order to retain a semblance of balance so important.

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Processing impulses that can be as elusive as emotions is intimidating for even the most enlightened among us, and breaks in transmission help maintain a level of buoyancy.

Maverick Life caught up with actress, author and playwright Buhle Ngaba, musician Langa Mavuso, and founder of the live electronic act The Kiffness, David Scott, to find out how they’ve been during this time.

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“It hasn’t been easy because my mom passed away at home in December,” says Ngaba. “People usually use grief as a reason to ‘go somewhere else’ or escape in some way. I don’t get to do that now.

“So I’ve used lockdown as a time to work on beginning to process not only the new way of the world, but the ways of my world without my truest compass – mama.”

Ngaba recently converted her show Swan Song into a screenplay to showcase at the virtual National Arts Festival this year. After successfully touring with the stage production, she filmed the adaptation with a skeleton crew. She stays home and practices mindfulness while her work gets to travel the world.

Buhle Ngaba (Image by Neo Baepi)

“I try to start the day off with meditation and setting my intentions. I then do morning class – what performers call exercising, because we use it as conditioning to be physically ready and able to carry whole soliloquies, choreography or whatever we need to do onstage…or yoga. I also read when I can,” Ngaba says.

Langa Mavuso says that even though he’s constantly plugged in – whether it’s connecting with friends, in meetings or live streaming interviews – being able to enjoy physical human connection is what he misses most about life before lockdown.

“I miss people. In my work, I miss the band and our audiences. I miss my family and friends and I miss having solo dates at my favourite secret reading and working spots,” he says.

But he’s embracing the change. “No one week has been the same as the last. I’ve had many great weeks, some horrible ones and a few empty ones too.

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“This lockdown feels like it’s been happening for years now, but I’ve been able to achieve a lot through it, and also shed a lot because of it,” he says.

Langa Mavuso (Image courtesy of the artist)

Mavuso is working on finalising the release of his debut album and navigating the challenges of having to shoot things like a cover and music videos while social distancing.

“It’s forced us to work and relate in a new dynamic. And dealing with mental health issues alone, without the social element that helps with coping, has revealed a lot,” he says. Taking care of his puppy helps to fill some of the affection gaps.

Dave Scott discovered online gaming and has invested time in a game called Call of Duty Warzone.

“I never considered myself much of a gamer before lockdown, but I’ve really been enjoying the challenge of this game. A lot of skill and tactics go into playing it well, and I understand the appeal now,” he says.

Scott balances the tactical exercise with a physical fitness routine and spends the time in between looking for inspiration.

“With no gigs on the cards for the next while, I’ve had time to explore different parts of my creativity. I discovered that I really enjoy making parodies, and that’s been a fulfilling creative outlet that’s helped keep me sane during this time,” he says.

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Talking about creativity and finding inspiration, Mavuso and Ngaba both agree that ​Zoë Modiga’s latest project, INGANEKWANE, provides the perfect soothing escape. Bongeziwe Mabandla’s iimini, Origin by Jordan Rakei and Chasing Summer by SiR also came highly recommended by both.

Scott, meanwhile, has just finished watching the Netflix series Money Heist and plans to revisit the crime drama Breaking Bad. He says The Great British Bake Off is also good alternative viewing.

Ngaba says that RuPaul’s Drag Race is a multifold experience because, while it’s binge-worthy, it also makes for entertaining Twitter banter with other viewers. She’s also watching The Republic on Mzansi Magic.

Langa Mavuso insists that if we watch nothing else during our time at home, we have to see I May Destroy You and Dating Around: Brazil on Netflix.

As much as entertainment plays its part in relaxing us during these tense times, we all know that food is the real healer. Even if you missed the banana bread craze, there is all the time in the world to experiment with recipes you might be curious about.

“My wife is a qualified chef, so there’s always weird and wonderful things coming out of our kitchen: nougat, shortbread, macarons, to name just a few,” says Scott. Mavuso’s choice is chicken soup, while Ngaba tends more towards a delicious curry. DM/ML

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