ALBUM REVIEW: ‘Ekhaya’ by Malcom Mufunde and Yaad Universe – The Silent Misery of the Youth, And The Resilience To Rise Above


We have now come to accept that one of the best collaborator teams not only in Zim Hip Hop but in Zimbabwean music at large is the duo of Malcom Mufunde and Yaad Universe. This time around, they are back with a deeply reflective album aptly titled Ekhaya.

Malcolm Mufunde and Yaad Universe Ekhaya album review

It is an album in which we see Malcom’s bold resolve for keeping on with rap music despite all the seemingly insurmountable obstacles we are bombarded with in this turbulent existence: it is less about entertaining; and more of an exposition to inform and educate—with a rallying call to change our circumstances.

Ekhaya is a hologram of Malcom Mufunde’s vulnerabilities. Raw and unfiltered. By proxy of us being human and in the same environment as him, it’s a reflection of every one of us as well. A deeply conflicting existential crisis.

Malcom is obviously known for foregoing traditional, conventional hip hop soundscapes in favor of setting a tone or emphasize a mood for what he needs to genuinely express—at least for those well-acquainted with his strand of rap.

Ekhaya provokes contemplative perspectives, and a listener really has to settle down to properly digest the complexities and intricacies of Mufunde’s evocative raps. These are layers of sound that can reward. The most obvious aspects of the album is that it sounds ethereal as his previous album, Existence. It’s both passive and active.

In this album, Malcom embodies pain, but resolutely exudes life. 

Ekhaya can be a way out. We all need to find a way back to our true homes where respite waits for us. And this can only be done by being honest deep down in our hearts that we are messed up—and that there is always hope. We’re going to be fine, that’s what Malcom & Yaad tell us. 

The light inside the tunnel every young person needs to traverse the hardship of life portends peace and wellness. Hip hop gave Malcom ample room to express himself, and he placed himself at the center, externalized all the pain people normally internalize.

Young people rarely hear these phrases:

“I believe in you,”

“You can do it?”

“How you feeling?”

“l am proud of you”

A lot of times, everyone is on their own. Tasked with dealing with hard things and to overcoming any form adversity because it’s deemed personal responsibility. Pain is perceived as weakness and incompetence. No one—who wants to be perceived as a worthwhile member in society—desires to be described as weak or incompetent.

However, if one does not talk about their struggles and shortcomings that perceived weakness is masked. Hidden, deep until it unravels like an angry tropical cyclone.

Across every scope of well-being that has been clinically studied—cheeriness, health, meaning, temperament, relationships, money—those who fall in the age range of 19 to 29 feel they are worse off than any other age group.

It is important to address issues of anxiety, depression, trauma, suicidality for youth and for adults as well. 

Having done that in his previous projects, Ekhaya highlighted in a very unique way how society neglects expansive questions of well-being or success. Questions that when answered, confirm whether or not one is living in a state in which all aspects of life are good.

Malcom emulates not just longer-standing existential crises among younger demographic that predates and was worsened considerably by the political conditions of the recent times, but a broader crisis in which he perceives not just existential but also mental, physical health, social connectedness, and other measures of flourishing as worse than other age groups.

The music speaks for itself. The genius in Malcom manifest itself. Ekhaya is resilience to overcome darkness.

  • ALBUM RATING – 8.3

Stream Ekhaya by Malcom Mufunde and Yaad Universe here:

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