Shashika hit high note at Samas
DURBAN-born singer Shashika Mooruth is on a high after winning the international achievement award for her folk music album Jogan and Krishna, The Flute Player, at the South African Music Awards (Samas) at the weekend.
Mooruth made history by being the only South African of Indian origin to receive the award as producer, songwriter and recording artist. It was presented to her by President Cyril Ramaphosa.
“When the president was announced at the awards, I thought to myself, ‘Wow, he is here,’ but I expected him to leave after a while. When it got to my award, he came on stage and that’s when it hit me, I was going to be awarded by our own president,” said Mooruth, who lives in India.
“I won’t say I was nervous, rather I was excited to meet him and while walking on stage, it was as though the Lord was calling so the speech I had mentally prepared in my mind was wasted.
“Instead I requested to sing for him and my music had the words ‘sa’ and ‘ma’, which I thought was suitable for the occasion… and I did a small skit; people loved it. The artists were on their feet singing along, the president was tapping his feet…”
The 54-year-old said she must have sang the same piece about 10 times the next day.
“Everywhere I went people were just stopping me and asking me to sing that verse for them again because they enjoyed it. And what was even more touching was when black artists messaged me, one wanting to learn Hindi and another from Senegal telling me my music touched his soul.”
The former Mobeni Heights resident left South Africa to further her studies in music and start her career.
“There is not much of a Indian South African field here for our South African Indians to start their career, and when I went on stage I told the president about that and his response was to continue doing what I am doing as I have already made my country proud,” she said. “It was very encouraging to know all my efforts were being recognised.”
Mooruth added: “The award was not only for me, but also for Indians in South Africa. It was heart-warming to see our music is being recognised, and it was a big moment for Indian music in South Africa. Now the younger generation needs to follow suit and start making things happen. Sadly, we do not have an identity as a South African Indian music industry, and we need to build it up.”
Durban-born Shashika Mooruth received the International Achievement award from President Cyril Ramaphosa.