Swazibella,

Ntsiki Mazwai

Ntsiki Mazwai is a South African spoke word artist, poet, musician and beadwork designer (she’s the face for Beadex 2008). She’s also Thandiswa Mazwai’s sibling.

From Ntsiki Mazwai aka Mamiya

rom the day I was born 25 years ago – my journey in life has been to find my lessons. Through these lessons I have learnt things about myself, others and my surroundings. I am always striving to live up to my name – Nontsikelelo – meaning the mother of blessings. Over the years many people have come to know me as Ntsiki.

I have not fully discovered my true essence but in recent years I have pinned down what my role in life is. I have been blessed with the gift of being artistically expressive – thus far, through words (poetry) and through my hands (art of beading). My art-forms have allowed me to share my life’s journey with the masses of South Africa and through my words I have managed to travel beyond our shores.

Growing up in Soweto, I was always taught to be proud of who I was and where I come from – Africa. Thus I have become the African activist that I am. I have traveled to the United States, Europe and many African states - on each trip I know I leave behind a positive impression of Africa – more especially of young African women.

From my first performance, in 2001, my aim has been to engage my audience, in this way I hope to impart positive energies. This I believe I have achieved from the feedback I get after each performance.

In late 2002 I became part of, feela sistah! a much loved poetry collective with three other powerful female poets. Our force was powerful and it paved the way for many young local female poets. Sadly, our force was powerful even for the four of us – in 2004 we aimed for individual success. It was at this point that I learnt that it is in adversity that we reach our highest self.

I then embarked on the journey of my album, the journey of MaMiya. For the better part of last year (2005) - I was consumed by working on my album and my book. I knocked on many doors, a knock which many chose not to answer. It was at this point that I established Mobu Records, a diversification from my pioneering African beadwork range, House of Mobu. A question I often come across is I how I balance the beads and the words…I say: life is long and patience is a virtue.

I poured my heart out on paper, and channeled my poetry into music…and my hit single, ‘uRongo’ was born. DJ Euphonik and DJ Kent offered to remix the song and it became an instant club hit. The song was licensed to DJ Fresh for his latest album Definition of House2 and within two months of it’s release ‘uRongo’ shared the success of being best selling house song in 2005, alongside DJ Bongs, Sobabili.

uRongo became a glimpse of what I could achieve – and it taught me that if I chose to work with the right team, the UNimaginable could be achieved. I pushed myself to work even harder. I pushed my self harder in studio, and ‘put in my time,’ so I could have a story to tell about hard work and determination. About not giving up on dreams and believing in ones talents to achieve ones goals. MaMiya will provide you with tracks such Kancinci Mos a hip hop track featuring Khuli from Morafe, being a Msawawa girl, I Found Love In Soweto, and Mohoota of Trompies came to the party and added his house flavour. Semitone who has worked with Mandoza, Skwatta Kamp and Pitch Black Afro worked on Angisafuni Sengiyahamba. In the making of this album, I had losses and I had to express them, in Ngilosi Yami a track inspired by the death of my sister, Tumie, which I chose as a single, as that was the biggest change I had to adapt to in the making of MaMiya. On Qhawekazi the Johannesburg Adult Choir gave me the honour of adding their voices, and on Sweet Poison my little sister, Nomsa, added the sweetness that the poison needed. And JazzWorx opened its doors to all these happenings.

I have laid down the tracks and am ready to release - using the spirit of the women who marched 50 years ago to liberate all women – I have chosen the month of August as the birth of Mamiya. It is said that people born under the star sign of Leo are attention seekers, Mamiya revels in attention. Miya is my clan name. It was important to me to go with this name, because this is a special moment for me. A moment I want to share with my ancestors.
A moment for me to say thank you.
For all that they stood for.
For fighting for my rights.
For giving me democracy.

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