Making her stage debut in August 2008, Nomfusi has achieved more in two years than many artists in a lifetime. She has appeared with symphony orchestras, performed for Hollywood stars, done five international tours, opened for K’Naan and Freshlyground, been nominated for two Metro FM Awards, played for thousands of soccer fans, done twenty-three live TV appearances and featured in more than fifty publications!
Nomfusi (23) is a budding Afro-soul superstar from Khayelitsha that is causing an explosion in the South African media and live music circuit. With an incredibly powerful voice, rare physical beauty and electrifying stage presence, Nomfusi is ready to take on the world with her 6-piece township band.
Her music has a distinctive African flavour fused with 60’s rock, motown, R & B and gospel. Siphokazi and the late Miriam Makeba, as well as Western songwriters like Robin Thicke and Mary J. Blige inform the style of her songwriting, while she has the vocal ability and stage persona of power house singers like Whitney Houston and Tina Turner. Her lyrics are soulful, strong and outspoken, written in the language of her people. With a voice and a personality that transcend borders, she is guaranteed to attract world wide appeal.
She was born in the township of KwaZhakele in Port Elizabeth. Her loving mother raised Nomfusi and her two siblings without a husband, as he spent 21 years in prison, only to be released in 2007. Kwazibani (which means “Who knows?”) worked as a domestic, but was also a musically gifted sangoma (medicine woman). There was only enough for food, but Kwazibani even took it upon her to look after kids that were not her own.
Nomfusi would accompany her mother over weekends to sangoma rituals (Intlombe) where they would dance and sing for hours. They soon noticed that, just as Kwazibani had special gifts for healing, this little girl had her own special gift… for singing! “I was a very hyper kid, loved the stage and I enjoyed people watching me. “ They could not take their eyes off the little performer, and encouraged her with raucous applause. Her mother inspired her with traditional African songs from the rural areas, who also came up with her own melodies.
Sadly even Kwazibani’s special powers could not save her from contractinging HIV. Nomfusi was only 12 when Kwazibani contracted double pneumonia in 1998 and died of AIDS, the cause of death of almost 40 000 people in the Eastern Cape that year. “She wasn’t on antiretrovirals at the time, because we were not exposed to that at the time and I think what caused her death was lack of knowledge.”
She described the day of her mother’s funeral: “I got up in the morning, took a bath at my mother’s friend’s house cause there was not enough space for everybody. After that we went to the church and to the cemetary and that was the end if it. Her funeral was over within less than a day and we were left with no one.”
Nomfusi had incredible strength and wisdom at a very young age. “The day that she died I got to understand what love is and the kind of love she was teaching us, and that for me was to love myself so much that I would not let any situation destroy me, not even her death.” Nomfusi wrote her first song, Uthando (which means “love”) at the time of her mother’s funeral.
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