Artist Lounge: Free Spirited Artist - Ntsiki Mazwai
“Terrible, bad things happen
when good people do nothing
Ndithi, how long ma-Afrika
Will this nation be dying, crying?
These unlawful sins are traumatising
and murdering women
Weh ma Afrika yimihlola yantoni na?
Yimihlola ya ntoni na? (Africans, what atrocities are these?)
Death and Destruction mislabelled as revolution
2 all the soldiers that died in Marikana
2 all the sons that we lost in Marikana
2 all the bleeding sons of Marikana
Terrible bad thing happen when good people do nothing, say nothing
All my soldiers of the sun RISE!”
- Ntsiki Mazwai “Nkosi Sikelela/Rise”
A fitting poem by the beautiful Ntsiki Mazwai. Nontsikelelo (which means the mother of blessings) was born in 1980 in Soweto, South Africa (SA). Her parents were journalists and very politically active as part of one of the liberation movements, the Pan Africanist Congress. This means Ntsiki since birth, was raised on black consciousness. From a young age Ntsiki and her siblings were nurtured to read, know, and be aware of social conditions.
Her spiritual energy is her gift and manifests itself in various ways. It started out as beadwork when she was 21. Out the blue she went to a bead shop and decided to pick up beading. What transpired was Godly. She began making beadwork jewelry and suddenly there was a demand for her products. Because of this demand and appreciation for her work, she founded a beadwork business. She created bold and distinctive pieces that in turn brought her a lot of media and industry attention. She named her beadwork line ‘House of Mobu’ (soil/earth).
The beadwork led her to discovering her gift in poetry and while she wrote and appreciated poetry in school, she did not know she was a poet whose work would extend beyond the walls of her classrooms. Her first stage performance got a standing ovation which triggered her to embark on a journey of exploration in poetry. She was also part of resurrecting the live music and spoken word scene in South Africa. It was at these sessions that she learned to work with musicians and how to manipulate her poetic flow to be more melodic.
Rise Africa recently received the opportunity to interview with the profound Ntsiki Maswai on African art genres, her “Nkosi Sikelela/Rise” piece, and this month’s theme topic. This is what she had to say…
[read entire interview]