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Reasons to be Proud - #R2bP: Mandela University Alumnus, Kwande Cakata, recently had the opportunity to live a musical dream when he sang bass as part of a choir on the brand new Lion King soundtrack.

Kwande, who grew up in Butterworth and lives in East London, graduated with a Diploma in Music in 2012. He has always had a passion and talent for music being part of a very musical family and singing in church. 

As a student and alumnus, Kwande sang in the world-reknowned Nelson Mandela University choir.

He landed the Lion King job by chance, receiving a call from a friend who worked with well-known musician Lebo M. Recordings were underway in Johannesburg and one of the bass voices had to leave unexpectedly. Kwande was asked to step in but his friend didn’t tell him what it was all about.

He arrived at the studios in Randburg, saw a number of big names in SA music and was then told by his friend that they were recording two tracks for the 2019 Lion King. Kwande sang on Spirit (performed by BeyoncĂ©) and Mbube. Testament to the global village – the track was recorded in South Africa and sent off to the States for incorporation into the movie.

“My brother and I watched The Lion King so much that we knew every line, to the entire movie ... 25 years later I’m blessed to be singing bass on the soundtrack to my childhood movie” said Kwande.

He is a full time musician and sings with an accapella band called Just 6. They recently performed some shows in Germany and last year, did a month long tour of festivals in Germany, Austria and the UK. Kwande also plays piano and guitar but is best known for his skills as a saxophonist. 

In addition to Kwande’s inclusion in this iconic movie, Mandela University honorary doctorate recipient Dr John Kani, voiced the character of the mandrill, Rafiki.