Xander Ferreira has a gift for mass persuasion. A student of personality cults and demagogues, his imagery is full of oblique comments on race, power, and politics and how they influence populations. But he’s best known as electro-pop singer Gazelle. Singing in a mixture of Afrikaans and English, often dressed like Congolese dictator Mobutu Sese Seko, Gazelle headlines festivals and stars on South African television. Currently in New York, Ferreira has turned toward American soul music. He reflected with Makeshift on his power as an artist to reach the masses—and how his rise mimics politicians back home.