Upon his arrival to South Africa from Congo in 1998, Mermans joined the Young Bakuba Band as a drummer and bass guitar player. After a year in the band he found that his independence and musical style were being limited and so he branched out on his own as a solo artist in 1999. He was soon in high demand doing solo gigs at various Cape Town venues, however, he decided that he preferred a band set-up and assembled what is now a highly regarded multi-cultural band, Afro Fiesta.
Our first night in Cape Town we went to eat supper at a restaurant called Mama Africa on Long Street in the center of town. Throughout our meal we heard vibrant sounds of African music coming from the other room and were seduced. During the band’s set break we introduced ourselves and talked with Mermans, the band’s leader, about our project and he immediately was in unison with us. We set a time to meet the next day to film and record their music.