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Background information
Birth name Lwandile Dominic Nkanyuza
Also known as Lwansta, NORMVL
Born (1995-06-30) 30 June 1995 (age 23)
Kokstad, Kwa-Zulu Natal, South Africa
Genres Hip hop
Occupation(s) Rapper, graphic designer, record producer
Instruments Vocals
Years active 2008 - Present
Associated acts
Kimosabe, Lil Trix, Champ' Tile, YeYe, FonZo, M2Kane

Lwandile Dominic Nkanyuza (born 30 June 1995), known professionally as ByLwansta, is a South African rapper, record producer, multimedia and graphic designer.

Having combined his love for songwriting and music production with visual communication (through graphic design) and, ultimately being in full control of his brand image as both artist and designer, he has managed to cultivate a unique listener-base of his own, as a rare breed of South African rapper.

Nkanyuza art directs all his releases, designs his own cover artwork, films, directs and edits his own videos (unless stated otherwise) and extends his services to his music industry peers. In 2016, Nkanyuza wrote his final Graphic Design research paper on The Significance of Visual Communication on the Consumption of Music in the Digital Age, for which he was awarded a distinction.

Early life[edit]

Lwandile Dominic Nkanyuza was born on June 30, 1995 in Kokstad, South Africa. He is the younger brother of South African singer, songwriter and record producer Kimosabe. He attended St Patrick's College in Kokstad, and after completing his secondary education in 2013, he relocated to Durban, KwaZulu-Natal the following year to begin his tertiary education at Pearson Institute of Higher Education, enrolling for a Bachelor of Arts in Graphic Design.[1]

Nkanyuza, following his older brother's footsteps (with the exception of CAT) , chose Visual Art, Computer Applications Technology (CAT) and History as subjects during his secondary education while his peers had more "career orientated" subject choices. His choices were made in the absence of both his parents. With creativity almost seeming hereditary, the brothers' younger sister would follow suite and choose a Visual Art as part of her set as well.

Having been introduced to Hip Hop at the age of 8, Nkanyuza informally began his musical journey in 2008, writing and recording music from the backroom of his mother’s house with his brother. However, it wasn’t until 2014, following a move to Durban, where he would begin to establish and develop a new approach to his music, incorporating with it his passion for visual communications through design and ultimately establishing his creative brand, NORMVL[2] under which he creates his music and it's various visual counterparts.

NORMVL Mixtape cover art designed ByLwansta
NORMVL Mixtape cover art designed ByLwansta


NORMVL (2014-15)[edit]

In 2014, Nkanyuza had relocated to Durban to pursue a 3 year Bachelor of Arts in Graphic Design degree, this was his first time living away from home.

Despite living in a communal settlement with several other students, Nkanyuza often found himself confined to his room, only really interacting with his housemates in their shared facilities such as the kitchen, lounge and bathroom queues in the morning. In a new and unfamiliar environment, his room would become his sanctuary, introspection would become second nature, and due to his distant nature, he would often have to face the various uncertainties and difficulties of growing up alone. This would fuel a new approach to songwriting.

It would be during this time, while maintaining a general student life, Nkanyuza would begin working on his NORMVL Mixtape[3] He would use production softwares FL Studio and Cubase to create the mixtape. His housemates would often stand at his door while he recorded in the evenings, until one day they knocked at his door, curious about his evening activities.

Using knowledge gained through his course, Nkanyuza was able to independently package hard copies of NORMVL in his room, over and above designing the embellishing sleeve. His studies not only aided him in understanding the technicalities of package design, but branding as a whole.

NORMVL would enjoy mild success and press on local online music publications, often being praised for it's raw quality and it's relatability.[4] NORMVL would go on to earn a nomination at the South African Hip Hop Awards 2014 for Mixtape of the Year,[5] as well as 3 nods from Durban's Original Material Awards 2014 in the categories Mixtape of the Year, Lyricist of the Year and Best Sleeve Design.

Your Absolutely Right EP, Hype Magazine & COLORS (2016-17)[edit]

Following the release of the NORMVL Mixtape, Nkanyuza would release his second official musical offering, titled Your Absolutely Right EP,[6] 2 year later. The EP was recorded in the same room the NORMVL Mixtape was recorded in, again using FL Studio and Cubase.

The EP lyrically focuses on Nkanyuza's move to Durban, his relationship with his girlfriend, his frustration with the music industry and growing up.

The EP received generally positive reviews from critics and listeners a like. The EP was eventually listed on OkayAfrica's The 15 Best South African Hip-Hop Albums of 2016 and Texx And The City's Top 20 Albums & EPs Of 2016.[7] Texx And The City writer Timothy Kohler stated that "..although ByLwansta’s debut may resemble a young Marshall Mathers, the artist endlessly emphasizes the importance of bona fide authenticity. Similar or not, the intention’s what counts."[6]

The EP's release coincided with the launch of his self-designed personal artist website in which a SoundCloud player to the EP was embedded, a digital booklet was available for download and a link to the lyrics hosted through Genius was available as a button.[8] The EP's download link crashed within 30 minutes of the release due to excessive traffic. In NORMVL fashion, Nkanyuza would package hard copies of the EP in his room which he would sell at shows or take online orders and post them to their buyers.

In February 2017, Nkanyuza would appear on the cover of South Africa's No.1 Hip Hop Magazine, Hype Magazine's The Freshman Edition, as one of 7 freshmen.[9]

Durban Is Yours would go on to list him as one of 10 Durban Acts To Watch in 2017[10]

In August 2017, Nkanyuza would visit Berlin, Germany for 10 days as one of 10 recipients of the Goethe Talents Scholarship 2017 coordinated by the Goethe Institut and Pop-Kultur Festival.[11] While in Berlin, Nkanyuza would record a session with popular music and culture YouTube channel, COLORS Berlin, where he would perform a rendition of his 2014 single, Lindiwe from the NORMVL Mixtape. He has stated to had become a huge fan and follower of the channel and watches and listens to it religiously, after he discovered American rapper, Oddisee's session on the channel. He is the first South African artist to appear on the channel, and second African artist after Nigerian singer, songwriter and record producer, Davido.

Personal life and side projects[edit]

Nkanyuza graphic designs and offers art direction and visual communication services under NORMVL. After having gained tremendous insight through his research on visual communication in music for his college research paper, he has since designed cover artwork for various artists in Durban, in various genres such as hip hop, jazz, afro-pop, folk and RnB.

He officially graduated from Pearson Institute of Higher Education in April 2018.

Nkanyuza has a small collection of CDs, a majority of which he orders online due to the lack of availability in local music stores. He does this to unpack and analyse the sleeve designs and find the designers and art directors behind them. His favorite cover artwork designs are for Madvillain's (MF DOOM and Madlib) Madvillainy, by Jeff Jank and Eric Coleman, and Kanye West's 808s & HeartBreak by Brian Donnelly.[12]

He is a huge fan of T-Pain's music and cultural impact, and of Lana Del Rey's music, and has hardcopies of all 4 of her major releases.

Nkanyuza cites Eminem, 50 Cent, Lana Del Rey, Tyler the Creator, Anderson Paak, Frank Ocean, Lil Wayne, MF DOOM, Kanye West, AKA and Al Jarreau as influences on his musical identity and performance.



  • NORMVL (2014)

Extended Plays[edit]

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Award Ceremony Prize Work/Recipient Result
2013 Original Material Awards Newcomer of the Year Himself Nominated
2014 Mixtape of the Year NORMVL Nominated
Best Sleeve Design NORMVL Nominated
Lyricist of the Year Himself Nominated
2014 South African Hip Hop Awards Mixtape of the Year[5] NORMVL Nominated

External links[edit]


  1. ^ "ByLwansta releases DIY visuals for 'NORMVL Still" - The Fuss". The Fuss. 2017-04-27. Retrieved 2018-02-28.
  2. ^ "ByLwansta: Less Trap-Rap Bandwagon, More Detail-Driven Artistry - Platform". Platform. 2016-11-17. Retrieved 2018-02-28.
  3. ^ "NASHmagazine: Lwansta gives you NORMVL". NASHmagazine. Retrieved 2018-02-28.
  4. ^ "Lwansta's Long Awaited NORMVL." Kool Headz Blog. 2014-09-01. Retrieved 2018-03-01.
  5. ^ a b "South African Hip Hop Awards 2014". 2014-12-15. Retrieved 2018-03-01.
  6. ^ a b "ByLwansta: Your Absolutely Right - Texx and the City". Retrieved 2018-03-01.
  7. ^ "Top 20 Albums & EPs Of 2016 - Texx and the City". Retrieved 2018-03-01.
  8. ^ "'Your Absolutely Right' by ByLwansta EP Review". THE INFLUENCED LIFE. 2017-01-12. Retrieved 2018-03-01.
  9. ^ "More Than Hype: ByLwansta". Superbalist. 2017-02-16. Retrieved 2018-03-01.
  10. ^ "10 Durban Acts to Watch in 2017 : Durban Is Yours". Retrieved 2018-03-01.
  11. ^ "Upcoming Artist @BYLWANSTA To Rep SA In @popkulturberlin Nachwuchs". Retrieved 2018-03-01.
  12. ^ "@ByLwansta Chops Up His Favorite Hip Hop Artwork –". Retrieved 2018-03-01.