Bambata is a music project in South Africa which has produced three popular albums, 1906 in 2000, ukhandampondo (poll tax) in 2002, and Abashokobezi 1906–2006 in 2006.
The members of the project include Philangezwi Bongani, Nkwanyana, Mathufela Zuma and Bheki Khoza. Sipho Sithole serves as director and founder of the Native Rhythms Productions.
The beginnings of the Bambata go back to 1994, when Sithole and Bongani Nkwanyana met at the Windybrow Arts Festival. Sithole recognised in Bongani Nkwanyana an untapped talent, but the latter did not agree to the project until 1998, when Sithole brought along his cousin, the Maskandi singer and guitarist Mathufela Zuma.
The themes in Bambata songs range from suffering under colonialism and imperialism to social issues such as crime and incarceration.
The basic idea behind the Bambata project is to fuse Zulu traditional rhythms, amahubo (folk music) and maskanda guitar with African and mainstream jazz along with elements of hip hop, rap, reggae and kwaito. For the first two albums Bambata was not a band, but for each album and for many of the individual songs, artists were chosen that could interpret the songs with their individual talents. The third album was more of a group effort, with Philangezwi Bongani Nkwanyana, Mathufela Zuma and Faca forming the core of the group.
The initial album Bambata for their album 1906 was nominated for three categories in the South African Music Awards 2001: Best Newcomer, Best Zulu Music, and Best Adult Contemporary Album: African. Sipho Sithole was also nominated for Best Producer.