Thomas “Tom London” Gumede, the founder and lead choreographer of Soweto’s Finest has taken his Jagger moves to the world. Starting off as a young dancer in Soweto, London says he danced all over the township to gain popularity and build a fanbase.
“It started off with me dancing at literally every bash that was happening in Soweto. There was a close friend of mine who became my manager at some point. I wanted to get paid for what I loved doing and 9 to 5 is not my thing,” said London.
Under his belt, London is not only a dancer, he is an artist. He is part of the crew, Soweto’s Finest. The group is known for the release of their single titled tikoloshe from their debut album, Tikoloshe Gang. The song became such a hit that South Africans got behind their cameras for a dance challenge.
“I always had a clear indication of where I wanted to take my career. I think one of the people who made things easier for me vision wise was watching people like Michael Jackson. The idea of making and dancing to your own songs was definitely something amazing,” said London.
Soweto’s Finest is growing musically. London shared that we can expect an EP from them this July.
The group includes other talents.
“The first one that joined was Njabulo Mahlaba. He literally came to my house after seeing me win Jika Majika, he wanted to learn how to dance and to be a part of the movement – he even wrote a motivational letter. Similar story with DJ Bash as our DJ,” said London.
London says the group writes about their day-to-day experiences. He further makes reference to the character of Brutus in the soapie, The Queen, who is always carrying a beverage, celebrating life. This birth the group’s latest single, Bev.
“Bev was inspired by the character Bhovungane, Brutus – I love the show and I watch it all the time, so he always has a beverage in his hand, he is always drinking, he is unapologetic about who he is and he is also the life of the party,” said London.
London has taken dancing to new heights. He opened a dance (fitness) studio in Newtown, Johannesburg encouraging people to learn how to dance while keeping fit – definitely not as daunting as attending gym.
London says he started the dance studio because he kept getting requests from Namibia, Botswana, Polokwane – people wanting to know how to dance or how the group does what it does.
Apart from his many successes, touring Paris and Lyon, featured on the 2010 FIFA World Cup, and more, London continues to broaden his horizon.
“I recently choreographed for a show called JIVA. I choreographed with my partner Bontle Modise. We were head choreographers of the show. Busy with a tour across the country called a Dance Derby where we teach people how to dance,” said London.
Follow the Soweto’s Finest on their socials for updates on their latest project.