Asaman meets with 27 year old musician and producer Simphiwe Kulla. A member of the fusion band The Muffinz. Here is what he had to share
How would you define manhood?
Manhood is a responsibility for all men who want to define themselves worthy of being man.
Has a career in the music industry always been your first choice or did you have different prospects?
I probably was the most confused kid around my peers. My grades were always sub-standard till about grade 9(std 7), and even then when my grades improved, I still didn’t know where I’d end up in life. I always dreamt of a lot of things, but felt some of my dreams and aspirations were influenced by my surroundings and society. A reality I battled with for three years in my varsity life. It hit me hard, so hard I sought counselling. Music was always there, a gift God gave me to keep me happy and sane. It just got to a point where it was a no brainier for me. So yes, I think music was my first choice. I just kept avoiding it because of how my surroundings were setup. Music wasn’t an encouraged form of income or career.
How did your family, especially your father respond to your decision to pursue a music career
Firstly, I think my parents didn’t do too bad with me. Actually, I think they did great, especially my dad. But I don’t think he understood how much of an impact he had on me as a person. He inspired me in ways he wasn’t aware of. It’s like uploading a video on YouTube and not realising how viral it might go. When it does go viral, you try your best to avoid the attention it comes with. I think that is how my dad raised me. He wasn’t for the whole music idea, society had successfully influenced him in thinking it wasn’t a proper and fruitful career. But yet, he bought me all the music I desired in the world. He supported me with my dreams and all my extra curricular activities as a kid. He bought me musical instruments. He flew me across the world to experience life in its totality. He didn’t know it, but he gave me a story to tell in my music. He helped stretched my influences and inspiration. He shaped me to have the mind for music production. Definitely a man worthy of the title father.
Do you feel or believe children are well exposed to the Arts in this country?
No not entirely. I feel like a lot more is done in selling sports, and economic benefits. It’s deemed better for you to represent your country in sports than in the arts. Funny thing this, ’cause Europeans and Americans are known more for their everlasting artwork. Even under colonisation, us Africans were taught more about the west’s art and its history as opposed to the random sportsman or sportswoman. It’s quite ridiculous actually. Back to the arts. ‘Celebrity’ is more the focus than the actual art. Peoples skills are not being developed because the plastic world is what’s being sold to them. There is a huge gap. This is a matter that is very personal to me. Not enough is being done.
Women tend to be objectified in the industry, what are your thoughts on this?
I think any real man who loves their lady dearly wouldn’t want her to be objectified… This topic is quite sad, in the sense that woman find a liking to being objectified. To be honest I even find myself liking it too. Sex sells, that’s the force, if you are not for it, you are considered conservative, therefore you are not progressive,hehe, ya ne! Self appreciation has been twisted. I don’t think I’ve also quite grasped my head around this topic. I’ll don’t think I have all the answers in life generally. I really don’t believe what society says is the end all and be all though. I can’t stand for something I don’t believe in. I fear for the day God blesses me with daughter.
Do you think, with the values you currently live by, you could be what we term ‘a good father’, and how so?
Good father. I think only my future child can truly determine that. All I can do is try my best. But yes, I do believe I’m grounded enough to be a father. But nowadays that doesn’t seem to matter much, we focus too much on the expectation part of parenting forgetting that this human we are raising is a person in their own right. All parents can do really is guide. Children will determine on their own where they want to place their beliefs.
Rest assured, I’ll be going into fatherhood with the experience of being an uncle ; the experience of being raised up by an amazing father ; and having the ever so good and faithful Lord by my side.
Do you participate in any social development programs for the younger generation and how do you feel about the Asaman campaign?
I used to. I loved teaching others about music. Did it for about three years straight. I’ve stopped to concentrate on my career. As for the Asaman campaign, its needed. A lot of the wrongs in our society can be rectified by men who can take a stand and be progressive in the betterment of our current trying times. We need to drive ideas of a “good man” and not just an “ok man”.
Have your religious beliefs been compromised by the lifestyle adopted when pursuing such a career?
No my beliefs are still the same, from the foundations of the Seventh Day Adventist Church. My lifestyle isn’t lavish or plastic. It’s still similar to the days of my upbringing.
Please share any other things you would like to pursue and how you feel they would benefit you and those around you?
I’m very proud of what I’ve achieved so far. I’m still going to be pursuing other avenues of music and the industry. I’m still finding myself in this big and scary world of music, it’s going to be a beautiful journey ahead. I’m currently in school furthering my studies in my passion. Education is something necessary to us all. Knowledge is a treasure for me.
The fear to pursue what we are passionate about is a common error, driven by possible ridicule. Ridicule of this nature usually comes from those closest to us, who have chosen to only believe what is true to them. Music also seems to be a popular topic in the Asaman space. I wonder why
I pay attention to every single detail in my life. Especially in my work and interactions with people. It helps me to be a step ahead and to appreciate the beauties of life
Photography by Aaron & Hur