Interview Profiles

In Conversation With Langa Mbonambi

Interview by: Veroschkka Motimele

 

1. WWW has released three albums so far, how has the band grown through its last
three albums?

We’ve grown together in a number of ways. One of the ways is musically. We started
as guys that were singing and playing in church and over the years we’ve transitioned
from that to being professional musicians. Being in different environments and being
exposure to different people and other musicians has caused us to grow musically in
that way.
We’ve grown life-wise. I mean, we started out as students with minimal
responsibilities and now most of the people in the team are married and some of us
have children, families and various jobs as well, so we’ve grown in having to adjust to
all of that.
Also relationally, with us just walking together as brothers and sisters in Christ. The
more time you spend together and the more shared experiences that you have with
any person, the deeper the relationships, so we have really become and grown into a
family, not just a team and not just a band but to really stand for each other and
walk with each other in Christ.

2. The WWW sound is instantly recognisable and unique, who are your artistic or
musical influences?

We are a diverse group of people so our musical influencers are quite diverse. We
have guys that come from your typical township churches that sing your Joyous
Celebrations and your old school amacilongo and things like that. Whereas some
guys like me who came from a more English, Anglican background where we grew up
singing hymns and then along the way the more contemporary sounds were
influenced by Hillsong and other bands like United Pursuit to Kirk Franklin and some
of the gospel sounds from the US as well. We’ve got a strong jazz contingent within
our team so some of the guys in our team are actually playing for a jazz band and so
there’s that strong African jazz influence, abo Jimmy Dludlu, those are some of the
influences we have in the team.

3. You’ve recently introduced fans to WWW First Fridays. Tell us a little bit about
what it’s about.

First Fridays is essentially about two things: Communion in Community. Communion
meaning intimacy with God and that time of connecting. It’s about us having
intimate moments with God and doing it together as a people. I think so often in the
worship world it becomes about the singer or the leader or the minister and then the
audience. So our heart and our goal is to awaken the priesthood of the believers
where everyone is engaging in the worship experience and it is not about the singers
and gifted people but instead, everyone is engaging and worshipping God. It’s about
creating those moments where we hear all our voices together not just the worship
leaders.
It is also an opportunity for us to break down barriers stopping people from coming
to a WWW experience. Some churches can’t have us because of budgets, distance
and things like that. This is a means where we say hey guys, it’s open, this is free,
come through and let us all do this thing together.

4. What’s the story behind the current album fan-fave, “This I Know?”

It is written from Psalm 139. I was reminded of the psalm in a season where I was,
not so long ago where I just wasn’t feeling God’s presence. I was reminded of this
psalm which we used to recite at Sunday school in isiZulu. It was a powerful reminder
for me during that season. I believe every believer has that space where they feel and
where they go into and don’t feel that God is around, maybe things aren’t going as
planned, they are not getting those goosebumps, worship services aren’t the same
and everything kinda just feels dull. So it was written out of space to say that despite
what I am seeing or not feeling, God is still there and that will never change. He is still
guiding my steps and still surrounding and covering me all the way.

5. How would you describe the state of worship in the modern church today?

It’s almost what you call arena worship or stage worship. I think a lot of it has got to
do with lights, action, dress and being these cool people on stage. So a lot of the
attention is on the people on the stage. A lot of the way our churches are designed
are designed for a performance, i.e. the seating is very much a theatre set-up. And
everyone else is looking onto that as a model. Unfortunately it has become about
Christian rock-stars and celebrities, about songs and the people who sing songs.
Everyone in the congregation is supposed to participate in the worship experience,
not just the few people who stand on stage. So that is where worship is and
unfortunately it is what everyone looks to. It is a culture where everyone wants to get
a stage or be on stage and record an album. If I’m in the worship ministry, it is almost
as if I have only made it once I have recorded a DVD.

6. What could be better?

There could be more teaching about everyone participating in worship. Often I will
come across people who approach me and say that they are real worshipers and I
find that they are saying that because they sing. Being a worshiper is does not mean
you have to sing. Being a worshiper is an inheritance and a role of every believer
and it has got nothing to do with being able to sing or a musical gift. We are all
supposed to sing unto the Lord. When the psalmist writes that he writes it to the
whole assembly. I think that is something we need to grow in.
Also, people don’t need to do things in order to get a platform. People can just be
happy where they are and with what God is doing in that particular environment
even though it is not on TV or featured elsewhere. We need to be faithful where God
is using us in our particular communities. The goal should never be that it goes
beyond our community. That is something that I feel could be better.

7. How important is originality to you when it comes to creating music?

Originality is important. We are creatives and so it is important that we create. It is
part our design, what we are passionate about and it is part of what gives us life, a
joy and an excitement therefore, we are always going to create. However, our goal is
not to do original stuff just for the sake of doing original stuff. We want to write
about our experiences in an original way and in a way that we feel that our audience
or people like us will be able to receive. It is about seeing and hearing what God is
saying in that moment. We need to be mindful of the fact that God has already
spoken and He speaks eternally. I think there is a trend in today’s culture where it is
all about the new song, and there’s almost a negativity towards anything that is old.
I think when we adopt that approach, we lose some perspective in that we are
saying, what God has done in the past is long gone and written off. We love and are
always going to be writing new songs but we also want to honour old songs that God
has used and is still using now. Having both together, through creativity is very
important.

8. What has been the most special moment for WWW leading up to the release of
“Mmuso?”

The most special moments have been where we are together. We rehearse every
week and before we rehearse we spend an hour simply eating together and chatting.
We will chat about what is happening in each other’s lives and then somewhere in
there someone will share a devotional word as well. As we were rehearsing songs
started to minister to us, we’d start to chat about what we felt God is doing and what
He is going to do with a particular song. Where there is an excitement in the room
about a song or project and being convinced about what we are doing around the
table, eating pizza and chatting about God.

Those moments give us a strong foundation to do anything. Projects come and go, so
as people like songs and then no longer like songs but, as long as we know what our
purpose is then our identity cannot be stripped from us and it cannot be determined
by the success of a song.

9. What advice do you have to give to upcoming creative, worship-based
movements?

Celebrate what God is doing in your local space. We hear stories of movements like
Hillsong, all they did was to simply write songs about what God was doing in their
communities. Their goal was never to be superstars. Their goal was to just celebrate
what God was doing in their local communities and God exported it to the world.
That is our story as well, we were just celebrating what God was doing in our
university campus. Don’t try to build something to be famous or to be known. Allow
God to do what He will with that. If it happens that it goes beyond your community
then that’s great but also be okay with it not going that far and recognise that as
what God is doing there.
The second thing is that people gather under a vision but relationship keep them
going under that vision. Invest in relationship and in building together. Get involved
in one another’s lives because you are doing this thing together.
10. What’s next for WWW?
Things like “First Fridays” are for us primary. We are about being a movement, not a
band. We are looking at having workshops and training places for people to be able
to do what we have done. We want to train people to write and arrange songs so
that they can use the skills in their own communities to fan to flame what God is
doing there. We are going to be releasing a single soon, it might be a 3 track ep. We
are looking forward to having a fourth album recording which will be at the SABC
studios in Johannesburg from the 3 rd to the 5 th of August.

11. What’s next for Langa Mbonambi?

Continuing to build relationships around this nation, to take hands with people that
are wanting to see true reconciliation and restoration happen in this land. Travelling
around the country, building and connecting with people who share the same heart. I
really want to see God’s glory displayed in and through this nation South Africa with
the diversity that it has. It has a unique offering that it can bring to the Lord in just
giving him glory. We have a unique testimony that we can bring to the world on how
God truly reconciles people. That is what is on my heart. Family is first, I am looking
at doing awesome stuff with our family, going on adventures. Our long term desire is
to live in one or two other Africans nations, so that is something we are working
towards. Part of that is to really see what God has placed in this continent, to
experience it, enjoy it and to display it to the rest of the world.

12. Where are you performing next and how do we get hold of you?

We share all our up-coming performances on our social media platforms. Look out
for wwwmovement on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Youtube. Our website
wewillworship.co.za /info@wewillworship.co.za we love hearing from people, we
love connecting with people.

About the author

Themba Mashaba

1 Comment

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  • Great interview!

    Interesting insights about the current worship arena. I think that our perception of what it means to be a worshiper comes from a lack of understanding of what the church really is and what salvation and grace are really all about. Church leaders are the ones who create the culture within their local congregations and if we make worship all about performance and a platform for superstars, then as leaders, we should check our doctrines and what we promote as important and what we make to seem unimportant.

    The WWW team is really doing a great job in building the body of Christ and serving with excellence. Keep up the great works! May the Lord take you from grace to grace and from strength to strength!