When these siblings sing, all is good in the world
Buskers anchor every corner of the Maboneng Precinct. None stand out like Biko Nhlangothi and her younger brother, Manna. Aged 12 and 10, the siblings are superstars in the making. Every Sunday, they set up stage at the Market on Main. As the duo tune their guitars and warm up their voices, passersby might mistake them for amateurs. But these kids know what they’re doing.
For the past three years, the children have been captivating audiences with their band, Biko’s Manna. Yet their talent was clear long before they started busking. They grew up in a musical household – both their parents are performance artists. Even as a toddler, Biko was singing spontaneously, voicing the stories of her vivid imagination. When Manna came along, he picked up on the lyrical surroundings. Today they’re both proficient guitar players, and Biko has perfected her vocal range. Occasionally their father, Sebone Rangata, joins them on the drums. While the kids often play covers, many of their songs are written by them.
Their sidewalk shows have led to opportunities to perform at banquets and on national television. While Biko and Manna are achieving local fame, their dream is humble: to spread the joy music has brought them. “When I’m singing to a crowd, I feel happy,” Biko says. “Seeing people’s reactions to our music makes me feel like I’m a good person.” With lyrics covering everything from celebrating heroes to learning to love yourself, you can’t help but feel optimistic.