From Mobu, her distinctive line of beadwork, to Wena, her autobiographical poetry collection, from spoken word to spoken music, from producer to bold social activist, from MC to twitterati, Ntsiki Mazwai’s constant underlying theme is courage – courage to speak on controversial issues with almost brutal honesty
In 2003, Ntsiki alongside Lebo Mashile, Myesha Jenkins and Napo Masheane, created the Feelah Sista poetry collective which gave a platform to women’s voices to be heard.As a poet, Ntsiki has performed worldwide at various spoken word festivals in Italy, Jamaica, Tanzania, Belgium, the US, Holland and Zimbabwe and was part of the cast of the ‘Vagina Monologues’. Her poetry anthology ‘Wena’ was published in 2010 it is currently in its second print and has been introduced into the school system.
The incomparable street-queen however entered explosively onto the commercial music scene making a mark with her song ‘uRongo’. Released on DJ Fresh’s Definition of House vol. 3, it went on to become the country’s biggest selling song of 2005.
She pioneered ‘Spoken Music’ which takes literature to the dance floor and has worked with the cream of the crop of the local house scene e.g. DJ’s Fresh, Glen Lewis, Josi Chave and Mahoota. Having broken through in house, Ntsiki explored different genres and sounds and her debut-album ‘Mamiya’ (SAMA-nominated for best Urban Pop album in 2007), containing jazz, hip hop and soul, is a definite token of her musical diversity.
But her musical journey didn’t stop there, one of her more recent collaborations with SAMA Life Time Achievement recipient Pops Mohamed and popular rapper Zubz clearly shows her dynamic approach and growing musical maturity.
And then there is ‘Azanian Love Songs’, a collaboration with soul singer Maxhoba wherein poetry icon Don Mattera’s work is turned into song.
In 2011, she released the single ‘Ex’s Cherry’ (to be found on Josi Chave’s album Black Frequency) followed by ‘Is it OK’ which earned Ntsiki the LGTBI award 2012 for using her voice to educate the public about gay rights.
Five years after the release of Mamiya, Ntsiki is back with her long-anticipated follow up album Ndingubani which fuses hip hop, jazz and kwaito while flirting with soul. All lyrics are penned by the Streetqueen and the songs are co-produced by Ntsiki Mazwai and Band [Siya Dlungwana (keys), Urban Nobela (guitar), Smash Sithole (drums) and Mosebetsi Ndzimande (bass)].
Artistic powerhouse Ntsiki Mazwai is a READ Ambassador, has hosted regular poetry and music sessions such as Monday Blues, Sheila’s Day and Streetpop, has established and produced the monthly ‘Mama Said’ sessions and is a sought-after MC.
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