Dr Mulalo I “Bhamba Muphandi”. Photo supplied.

Down-to-earth Bhamba makes headlines with PhD and new album

News - Date: 08 June 2024


From beats to books, Venrap musician and producer Mulalo I Mutoti, better known by his stage name of Bhamba Muphandi, has proven that he can excel in both the studio and academia. On Friday, 17 May, Bhamba received his PhD in environmental sciences (hydrology) from the University of Venda.

While fans were still celebrating this significant achievement, Bhamba surprised them with the release of his second studio album, “Thoho dza Mafhungo” (Headlines).

Born and raised in Tshikhudini but later relocating to Thohoyandou Block J, Bhamba has been a prominent figure on the Tshivenda hip-hop music scene since his debut in 2010. His breakthrough album, “Down to Earth”, featuring popular tracks such as “Masindi”, “Zwamutani”, “Vhuyani Hayani” and “Life is so Hard”, received widespread acclaim and airplay across various radio stations in South Africa. Today, this is still recognised as one of the most successful albums in the Tshivenda hip-hop industry. The album also earned Bhamba a Tshivenda Music Award for Newcomer of the Year.

The 38-year-old lecturer at the Tshwane University of Technology said he had based his PhD research on the occurrence of toxic and non-toxic cyanobacteria species in water supplies destined for maize-meal preparation, which he did at Mawoni village in Nzhelele.

“To the best of my knowledge, no studies have been done on the contamination of maize meal during the grinding mill process using cyanobacteria or cyanotoxins-contaminated water. The research study I conducted discovered that cyanotoxins can be transferred from contaminated water to food during food preparation, which could then present another significant route of human exposure to cyanotoxins.”

The Masindi hitmaker said his research also adopted and optimized a simple, sensitive, and reliable analytical method for accurately quantifying and identifying cyanotoxins at parts per billion (ppb) levels, using liquid chromatography - mass spectrometry.

In terms of music, however, Bhamba said his new album was simply inspired by his love and passion for music.

“The love for writing and conveying soulful and healing messages came as an inspiration towards this project. I also wanted to inspire others to do what they love and love what they do.”

The award-winning musician said his academic research influenced his music.

“Remember, there is a lot of reading when you are doing your PhD, and in doing so, you get to enrich your thinking and reasoning capacity, and as a result, your music and lyrical content become super outstanding. Imagine the knowledge you accumulate when reading five articles and a book a week, imagine how lyrically rich you'd become.” He said his time-management skills had played a vital role in his obtaining his PhD and delivering a new album.

Bhamba has two albums, titled “Down to Earth” (2013), and “Thoho dza Mafhungo” (2024) and two extended plays (EP) titled “My Inventions” (2015) and “The Blank Cover” (2016). He also has a joint EP with Makhadzi and Prifix, titled “Vhaphandi”.


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Maanda Bele

Maanda  Bele, born and raised in Nzhelele Siloam, studied journalism at the Tshwane University of Technology.

He is passionate about current news and international affairs.

He worked as part of the Zoutnet team as an intern in 2017.

He is currently a freelance journalist specialising in news from the Vhembe district.

Email: [email protected]