Is Bu­siswa Africa’s finest?

The Mercury - - GOOD LIFE -

SHE may have been born in Mthata, but bub­bly Bu­siswa Gqulu, bet­ter known sim­ply as Bu­siswa, and a nom­i­nee for best fe­male act at this year’s MTV Africa Mu­sic Awards (Ma­mas), is very much a Dur­ban girl at heart, hav­ing grown up here.

So she is dou­bly de­lighted that, on July 18, Dur­ban’s In­ter­na­tional Con­ven­tion Cen­tre will host the big awards bash, where she will be hop­ing to scoop the award.

It is her first MTV Africa Mu­sic Award nom­i­na­tion, she says dur­ing a quick in­ter­view, a few min­utes be­fore she is due to visit a den­tist.

“I know it sounds like a cliché, but I hon­estly did not ex­pect this nom­i­na­tion. I was ex­pect­ing, maybe, next year, af­ter I push my al­bum, but now that I am nom­i­nated, I want to win this award so badly,” she adds.

Other nom­i­nees for Africa’s best fe­male act are fel­low South African Bu­cie, Tan­za­nia’s Vanessa Mdee and Nige­rian acts Seyi Shay and Yemi Alade.

A spo­ken-word artist and poet who has made the Top 200 Young South Africans list compiled by a lo­cal news­pa­per, Bu­siswa is greatly look­ing for­ward to per­form­ing in Dur­ban again this week­end.

She is among a stel­lar line-up of South Africa’s hottest ur­ban artists and DJs who will head­line MTV Base’s first Road to Mama event, a party tour that will be criss­cross­ing the con­ti­nent in the build-up to the awards cer­e­mony.

The tour will be launched at 47th Av­enue Lounge, 47 In­ter­site Av­enue, Um­geni Busi­ness Park, Spring­field, Dur­ban, on Satur­day. There­after, the party moves on to La­gos and Nairobi.

Doors open at 9pm. Tick­ets cost R150 and are avail­able at the venue and at Com­puticket out­lets.

Head­lin­ing in Dur­ban with Bu­siswa will be Best New Act nom­i­nee and Tsiki Tsiki star Dun­can, Dur­ban rap­per Ae­won Wolf and al­ter­na­tive hip hop act WTF.

Hit­ting the decks will be Song of the Year nom­i­nee DJ Fish­er­man, as well as Benny Mav­er­ick, Ju­nior De Rocka and DJ Feel.

“I will be do­ing a med­ley of my songs as well as one or two cov­ers with full chore­og­ra­phy and dancers,” says Bu­siswa, who last came to Dur­ban a month ago, to visit fam­ily, and last per­formed here at the Metro Mu­sic Awards.

High­lights from Road to Mama Dur­ban will pre­miere on DStv’s MTV Base at 5.30pm on Fri­day, July 10, and on DStv’s MTV at 8.05pm that same day.

Af­ter the Dur­ban gig, Bu­siswa – also known as Kalawa Chikita, a name she took when she was signed up by Kalawa Jazmee Records – has a Lon­don trip planned.

Now based in Jo­han­nes­burg, she ar­rives in Dur­ban af­ter gigs in Port El­iz­a­beth and Botswana.

Although rais­ing much in­ter­est with her hit 2012 col­lab­o­ra­tion with DJ Zinhle, My Name Is, the suc­cess of which pro­moted her move to Gaut­eng, Bu­siswa has been en­ter­tain­ing for many years.

She first per­formed po­etry in 2004, as a Grade 11 school­girl at Mowat Park Girls’ High in Mont­clair.

Her per­for­mance po­etry jour­ney started when she joined the col­lec­tive Young Basadzi Women of Po­etry in 2005. Since then, she has per­formed across var­i­ous stages, in­clud­ing the Na­tional Arts Fes­ti­val, Cape Town Na­tional Youth Fes­ti­val and Dur­ban’s Po­etry Africa Fes­ti­val, where she first per­formed in 2010.

De­scribed in her biog­ra­phy as “a new-age per­for­mance poet and singer”, Bu­siswa has been a sup­port act for singers Tu Nokwe and Siphokazi. She has also shared stages with Mak Manaka, Gcina Mhlophe, Ernie Smith and Con­cord Nk­abinde, among oth­ers.

Ca­reer high­lights in­clude per­form­ing at the Mal­i­bongwe Di­a­logues, held in 2008 as part of Nel­son Man­dela’s 90th birth­day cel­e­bra­tions, and her po­etry be­ing fea­tured on a CD com­pi­la­tion ti­tled Sounds 031 – Best of Dur­ban Women.

Us­ing her po­etry as a means of reach­ing out across var­i­ous plat­forms, Bu­siswa has also fea­tured as a poet on nu­mer­ous com­mu­nity and ra­dio sta­tions.

She has also worked for Art for Hu­man­ity (AFH), where she pro­vides work­shops for school­child­ren, as a means to help de­velop an ap­pre­ci­a­tion for po­etry and the vis­ual arts.

Her de­vel­op­ment work has also in­volved work­ing with the De­part­ment of Ed­u­ca­tion’s Umlazi district youth de­vel­op­ment of­fice, tu­tor­ing pupils in pub­lic speak­ing, de­bat­ing and per­for­mance po­etry.

Asked to name ca­reer high­lights, she laughs and replies: “There have been a lot, my good­ness. But my first awards, for my first solo sin­gle, Ngoku, made for a very proud mo­ment. Then, of course, there is this lat­est nom­i­na­tion, which I hope will be­come another award.”

Although the Ma­mas are tak­ing up a lot of her at­ten­tion at the mo­ment – she is still fig­ur­ing out what she will wear to the awards, and is hold­ing thumbs that she will be asked to per­form at the cer­e­mony – it is busi­ness as usual for Bu­siswa.

“I am try­ing to fin­ish my al­bum and choose a sin­gle… and I’ve also done a fea­ture with Tumi and The Vol­ume, so look out for that,” she says, rush­ing off to the den­tist.

Dur­ban-raised record­ing star Bu­siswa per­forms in Dur­ban on Satur­day, and stands to win an MTV Africa Mu­sic Award on July 18.

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