Not shy of controversy, writer and musician Ntsiki Mazwai has built her career on her poetic abilities. Ntsiki Mazwai is a talented artist who has worked with the best in the SA music scene. To name a few, artists such as Dj Kent, Euphonik, Fresh, Guffy, Bantu Soul, Mahoota, Mbuso and Dr Duda. Ntsiki is definitely steadily growing into a powerhouse on the local cultural landscape.
In the interview we recently did with her, Ntsiki Mazwai opens up about her career, personal life and future aspirations.. Check it out!
YV: How did your love for writing and poetry come about?
It has always been natural to me. To write and SPEAK has always been who I am. I kept a journal from a young age. Being bullied in high school led me to the love of poetry as it was a form of escape. During breaks I would be in the library reading poems as the other girls didn’t like me.
YV: What were some of the challenges you faced before making a name for yourself in the entertainment industry?
lol! MANY! 1stly poetry is not a big genre in south Africa, so making it a financially viable source of income takes some SERIOUS acrobatics, faith and focus. It is not a steady life which can be frightening at times. However at other times the spontaneous nature of my work is like living Heaven On Earth. Also having a ‘famous family’ works against me. I’m either Thami Mazwai daughter or Thandiswa’s sister……and I just want to be Ntsiki Mazwai. I love my family, but I don’t like having to work 500 times harder than other children for half the recognition they get.
YV: Tell us about the book you wrote ‘Wena’, what was the inspiration behind it?
I’m a young person living in such a dynamic country. I am trying to make sense of my identity. I am also trying to heal myself of the wounds of apartheid and the ripple effects it has had on my family, my career and my being. My book Wena is about the journey of a young person in SA and the various socio economic issues facing us. ALL my writing is my way of trying to find healing.
YV: Your, self titled , spoken word album received a nomination for a South African Music Award for best urban pop album in 2008, how did you feel about the achievement?
The music industry is dodgy and a lot of these things lack credibility. Now that I am older I have learnt that the REAL achievement is actually having a loyal fanbase. Marketing and PR you awards….but that can be short lived. A real sense of a achievement is the feeling I will get when im 80 and STILL on stages.
YV: Why are you drawn to open letters, why not face to face engagement?
I don’t wanna get beaten up! hawu! lol!
Im a poet and writer….I express myself best in words. Especially written words. I also find that void of my feisty personality, it is easier for me to get the point across. The pen and page make it less ‘confrontational’ for me……It’s more about expressing my feelings than it is about attacking the subject.
Also people must understand that writing is my superpower- so it gets invoked. I don’t choose to write…..an issue comes into my space and burns me from the inside and I MUST release it. it’s part of the gift. ALLOW.
YV: You are very expressive and upfront about your thoughts on things. Do you ever worry about stepping on the wrong toes? Or pissing off the wrong people?
Ayi! that’s none of my business!
YV: Do you have any life regrets?
I wish I had shown you more of the real Ntsiki, earlier……im a late bloomer by nature
YV: What does it mean to be a young black South African woman in 2015?
It means independence, self reliance and freedom to be ME outside of a man!
YV: We have been meaning to ask you this….. What was your reaction when you read Sports Minister Fikile Mbalula’s response to your open letter?
I tried to read it, then I realized that he was rolling in mud and I didn’t want to get myself dirty. There are times you recognize someone stooping to a low level that you cant engage on. In hindsight, I think he hanged himself without my help. There is a saying….’rather keep quiet and let everyone think youre a fool, instead of opening you mouth and leaving No Doubt.’ I think mr Minister left us without doubts on the caliber of man he is.
YV: What are your views on the current SA Leadership?
Eish…..its poor. I think we are all aware of this. it seems there is more leadership coming from the ground than in government. I think SA realizes that we have some changes to make.
YV: Who are your top 5 SA role models?
1. Naturally, The Mazwai Sisters
2. Mzilikazi wa Afrika
3. Winnie Mandela
4. Don Mattera
5. Pops Mohamed
YV: If you were to be president for a day, what would you change about South Africa?
Many things! I would start with the basic food and housing. I have some ideas. Then I implement some strategies for our youth.
YV: Which music is on your playlist right now?
Anything African for me- im trying to learn more about my people.
YV: What book are you currently reading
Wizards 1st Rule- Terry goodkind
YV: Your beef with AKA, have you guys squashed it?
lol! I don’t have beef with AKA, I think he is a young man who is expressing his youth.
YV: Who is the lucky man in your life?
lol! i’ll tell you when he pays lobola!
YV: Who is your SA Celeb crush?
My celebrity crushes come and go but Prokid is everlasting!
YV: What project are you working on?
Right now I am working on the iStart2 campaign, which is a movement about making a positive difference thru music. We raise funds for various charities. We recently did a concert to raise funds for people living with disabilities. For this project I recorded a song with Pops Mohamed and its a really powerful song about starting to ‘BELIEVE’ again.
I have a new song/poem called ‘THE MIGHTY HAVE FALLEN.’ Its the most amazing piece of art iv ever released. it is a commentary on the youth and the falling statues. its not the kind of work that will get airplay but it is the kind of work that NEEDS to be heard. Thank goodness with internet, one can just search these things…..but the masses are not online unfortunately.
YV: What advice do you have for the youth in South Africa?
Stop looking for jobs! look for your talent!