INTERNATIONALLY-ACCLAIMED South African Poet, Ntsiki Mazwai, had poetry-lovers dancing to her explosive tunes last week Saturday at the ‘Front Porch’ launch held at the Rockview Gardens in Maseru.
Mazwai delivered her beautiful and most loved pieces such as Hey black child; To my exes chery; and Ikhoromente to the excitement of her audience.
The event was a brainchild of Petsoa Majoeng Arts & Entertainment (PMAE), an innovation aiming to showcase the beauty and depth of poetry in the country.
In an interview with the Weekender, Mazwai said, she had not expected some fireworks as she performed on stage.
“The audience were amazing. They listened avidly to each poem, which showed they really love and understand the depths of poetry. It also made me to understand that Basotho understand there are different ways of learning, and poetry is a powerful tool for learning about life, its challenges and other people’s cultures,” Mazwai said.
She further explained the poetry sector in showed a lot of potential and all the local Poets needed was support from relevant stakeholders for them to develop and be able to tell their stories compellingly.
“Poets and other artistes here are gifted, they and very creative. All they need is support from stakeholders, including the government, the private sector and other actors, to nurture their talent to greater heights.”
Mazwai said what sets her apart as an artiste, was her ability to remain herself, explaining, “I was born this way, my voice does all the work for me and I am original.”
Over the years, Mazwai has maintained her status, as a social activist who uses her voice to empower people who cannot fight for themselves.
She expressed her love for Lesotho, saying the Mountain Kingdom was precious because of its authenticity, “a country that does not lie about its identity”.
“I love the authenticity of Basotho. They treasure their traditions, which remain intact in the face of so much global influence. I believe my gift is mostly understood and appreciated here than anywhere else,” she said.
Mazwai is the younger sister to prominent songstress, Thandiswa, who burst onto the South African music scene with the Kwaito super group, Bongo Muffin.
Ntsiki Mazwai is also a renowned performer in her own right, who has mastered the art of combining poetry with music to spread powerful messages about life in Africa and women empowerment.
She made her presence felt on the South African cultural scene, beginning in the underground music movement in pubs and restaurants in Johannesburg in 2002.
Mazwai was thrust into the mainstream by the success of her song uRongo-a soulful mix of poetry and house music in 2005. Her self-titled album, “Spoke Word” was nominated for the South African Music Award (SAMA) for the Best Urban Pop Album in 2008.
The outspoken Ntsiki Mazwai is no stranger to controversy and has been caught -up in several highly publicised spats with fellow prominent South Africans including opposition leader of the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), Julius Malema.
Last July, the two exchanged harsh words on Twitter with Ntsiki threatening to walk away from EFF as the party had become about its leader. Malema shot back saying he did not need her endorsement.
In a separate incident, she had a war of words with television personality, Bonang Matheba, who had apparently told her to focus on her music and also “try and look pretty”.
Mazwai did not take this lying down and responded with an equally vicious barb, saying she did not think Bonang was pretty herself but simply “wears lots of makeup”.
She also took a dig at investigative journalist and author, Jacques Pauw’s explosive new book about President Jacob Zuma, titled: The President’s Keepers, which she described as “white arrogance”.
Also commenting about last Saturday’s event, PMAE Founder, Nthare Makoae, said the event was about empowering Poets and Ntsiki was the ideal artiste to inspire local Poets.
Front Porch is a follow-up to PMAE’s earlier Golden Mic Initiative, which was about developing poetry by providing a platform for artistes to showcase their talent.
“The event was about bringing together poets and creating a poetry society,” Mr Makoae said, adding, “Front Porch is a new project, which is looking at continuing to showcase events that would help to empower our local Poets. This initiative also seeks to expose local Poets’ talent and facilitate future collaborations in the Southern African region and beyond,” Mr Makoae said.