For most, a good life of success, of wealth, and of happiness isn’t an inheritance they were born into or afforded as a perk of carrying the surname of a well-off home. A lonely waiting game is what it is—and continues to be—for a greater percentage of hopefuls who shiver out in the cold while they knock relentlessly, hoping they’ll hear life turn the key on the other end of the door to invite them in. Nomfundo Moh portrays the triumphs and the struggles that are part and parcel of the crests and troughs of pursuing a better tomorrow in her new music video for “Soft Life”.
Contemplative and wistful, a lonesome Nomfundo, standing atop a craggy hill, graces the opening seconds, reminiscent of a Disney princess in her cerulean dress, which renders her a chameleon in the way she blends in with the cloudless blue sky behind her. The scene transitions to the singer-songwriter sidling with a bag sagging from her shoulder, still carrying on with the theme of loneliness. From then on, the song’s chorus (“Nqo, nqo, nqo, nqo, nqo, sivulele, ngingas’valeli ngaphandle / nathi s’fun’ uk’phil’ i-soft life”) takes over.
From the same hill, Nomfundo pleads: “Oh, please, oh, please, uma kufeswa, ngicel’ ung’khumbule nam’”, a soulful letter to God or the ancestors (or both) or maybe even the recruiters to favour her when it comes to the job offer. Nomfundo’s voice becomes a mouthpiece that carries all the grievances of those who feel their prayers, job applications, and life opportunities are being constantly put on the back burner.
Forlorn, she stands by the side of the road, where she waves her hand and tries to hitch a ride to no avail—an ominous and poetic piece of storytelling. The depiction mirrors the real-life struggles of young people marooned on the side of the road, with nothing to eat and nowhere to stay and no one to turn to, desperately cadging for the mercy of good Samaritans willing to help them get to their destination.
Cars pass an impatient Nomfundo as it continues getting dark out, symbolizing the perennial frustration people face as they helplessly watch the days, the people around them, and the opportunities pass them while they get left behind feeling forgotten and unseen.
Nomfundo Moh, however, justifies the anguish with the final scenes of the music video. In lipstick-pink garments and a silver neckpiece, she sings while a group of graduates, arrayed in full graduation attire, stand behind her, mimicking her moves. Having recently graduated from the University of KwaZulu-Natal, the music video is a delightful toast to her resilience and to overcoming her tests and tribulations. Each lyric after that becomes a personal honourable mention to the youth, who have done the most with a bad hand of cards to reach for a “soft life” through education.
The “Soft Life” visuals don’t merely recount the multi-platinum-selling songbird’s life story. It’s a cinematic window that peers thoughtfully into the life and times of the millions of often-forgotten young South Africans, who’ve been bleeding hope in the face of crushing unemployment and the feeling that perhaps a nice life is a luxury reserved for a select few. And while life is no fairy tale, the music video is an anecdote-style promise that all hard work and patience pay off. No matter how arduous the process is.