Nt­siki Mazwai is per­fect­ing her craft

Afro-pop singer and poet Nt­siki Mazwai aims to make her mark on the African con­ti­nent

African Times - - Front Page - BUKUTA NKUNA

PO­ETRY is an art that can­not sim­ply be taught, this is ac­cord­ing to Afro-Pop singer and poet Nt­siki Mazwai. Speak­ing to African Times about her jour­ney to per­fect­ing her craft, Mazwai was open: “I was born a poet, so it was not re­ally a de­ci­sion. I just re­ally love writ­ing and I used to write po­ems as a teenager. But I didn’t re­ally know that this was my call­ing, and this would be what I would do with my life. I am also grow­ing as I am still dis­cov­er­ing my­self.”

How­ever, she had to work hard to break into the in­dus­try as her sister (Than­diswa Mazwai) was al­ready fa­mous. She had to over­come ex­pec­ta­tions from a num­ber of promi­nent peo­ple that she would also fol­low her sister’s foot­steps.

“The ob­vi­ous chal­lenge was that I had an el­der sister that has al­ready made a mark. It meant that I had to work a lit­tle bit harder than ev­ery­one else. That was chal­leng­ing be­cause peo­ple wanted to force me un­der­neath her shadow and they wanted me to be more like her. It took me many years to be de­fi­ant, re­bel­lious and to say, ‘No I am my own self’. An­other chal­lenge was just be­ing a woman in the in­dus­try that is do­ing her own thing be­cause most women in the in­dus­try have got men around them. So, I have a lot of ob­sta­cles as I don’t have any male han­dlers,”said Mazwai

She sees piracy as a big chal­lenge faced by mu­si­cians in the coun­try, say­ing that harsher copy­right reg­u­la­tions were needed. She also gave a glimpse into her se­cret to­wards staying rel­e­vant, say­ing that she fol­lows the lat­est trends and that she is still grounded in her roots.

“I was young when I got my big break as the move­ment of po­etry be­came quite pop­u­lar in the early 2000’s. So, there was unity in the po­etry cir­cle and I think a lot of us also came in at the same time. As a re­sult, I got el­e­vated from us work­ing to­gether. I just think maybe that our po­etry in­dus­try needs a lit­tle bit more of that and also it is im­por­tant for the artists to be com­mit­ted.

“I think House Mu­sic spoke to me be­cause it placed (my work) into the main stream and to the nor­mal per­son who would not even be at a po­etry show. I am also very ac­tive in the back­ground. So, even if my mu­sic or my name might be in the main stream, it does not mean that I don’t reg­u­larly go to open mic ses­sions to make sure that I re­main rel­e­vant to what other chil­dren are do­ing.

“I make sure that I am not just in one place be­cause that way you can fall off just by not be­ing wary of the en­vi­ron­ment and what other peo­ple are do­ing,” said Mazwai.

She said that she could not re­ally clas­sify which genre her craft was as the en­ter­tain­ment scene changed from day-to-day and that she was aim­ing to make a mark in the African con­ti­nent: “It is dif­fi­cult to clas­sify my craft be­cause I take ad­van­tage of the fact that I am a poet. It means I can choose to put it in any genre I can think of.

“I come from a Hip-Hop and Reg­gae back­ground so those are my main in­spi­ra­tions. Funny enough, I am not re­ally a house mu­sic fan but be­cause of the na­ture of my job, I have to be open to ev­ery­thing. But I am very much ac­tive in the back­ground scene.

“I need to move my art around the world and par­tic­u­larly in Africa. I would love to be per­form­ing through­out our con­ti­nent for the next few years be­cause I just be­lieve that we do not think that we are im­por­tant enough. You al­ways find that peo­ple from this side want to be in Amer­ica and Europe but ac­tu­ally you can also dream to work in Africa and that is how we are go­ing to get bet­ter if we re­al­ize that we are also good enough,” said the artist.

Mazwai is cur­rently in the stu­dio with Pops Mo­hamed and DJ Is­siah and that her mu­sic. She be­lieves the mu­sic would be re­leased on April 27 on on­line web­sites. She en­cour­aged as­pir­ing po­ets to re­main fo­cused on their crafts and they should not give up.

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