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Ntsiki Speaks

2008-06-02 06:13
Who is Ntsiki and what is your claim to fame?
Ntsiki is a healer. And my medium is the arts. So far, I’ve achieved in the poetry, fashion and music industries and I’m currently infiltrating theatre with my play, NTSIKI SPEAKS. I am a wild and unpredictable energy. I am full of life and hard to ignore. I’m also very sensitive, which makes people close to me feel very safe especially with emotional and spiritual “stuff.”

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What is your view on the South African Music industry today?
It’s too ridden with politics. It’s about who you are signed to and not necessarily the amount of talent you have. Major record labels don't market local artists enough - which proves that their primary objective is to promote international acts. I think the industry is growing and I like that more genres are being given a chance. I felt so blessed being a poet and being nominated for a South African Music Award this year.

When you left Gallo right after releasing your debut album there were headlines such as “Ntsiki gives Gallo the middle finger” and so forth. Can you please give us the real 411 on why you left Gallo and your future plans regarding your music career?
Tee hee. Those headlines were quite hardcore hey! I left Gallo because I did not feel that they were delivering on the promises they made. Being a marketing graduate, I found their marketing efforts quite poor (with all due respect). I also felt that I'm not a gangbanger, so being a part of so many artists was not really working for me. I work my ass off, and that’s how the Ntsiki Mazwai brand was built. I’m not used to being in an environment that does not GO BIG - so I went home. Leaving a major label took a lot of guts. I was scared and thought my career was over...but too my surprise doors started opening the minute I walked away from Gallo. It was as if God said; “Well done Ntsix for acknowledging an abusive situation and being brave enough to walk away, here are your blessings.”
The question on everyone’s lips: We know why you posed naked for Marie Claire and most of us understand the point you were making, but can you please explain to those people who just don’t understand why you bared it all?
Thank you for asking that question so respectfully. That campaign was about emphasizing vulnerability. The point was - even if I am naked that does not mean I’m asking to be violated. Ironically, exposing my vulnerability led to my own violation. And it showed me WHY people do NOT speak out about rape - because they fear being attacked! People attack the victim and not the perpetrator. I also think the message was lost because of how the media handled it. They took a powerful statement and made it dirty. I bared it all because I feel strongly against rape. I bared it all in support of all rape victims. I bared it all because dammit! women should be able to wear what they want! I bared it all because my life purpose is about liberating women. I bared it all because I have been blessed with a public platform and I am going to use my voice (and body) to catalyze the process of change.

Tell us more about your one-woman show, what it’s called, what inspired it and what is it about?
NTSIKI SPEAKS was inspired by my leaving Gallo. I channeled all the fear and anxiety and went back to my poetry roots. Its my poetic journey mixed with the music and dancing. I am an artist and I think once the media accepts that, it'll be easier to understand me. The play was well received and such a blessing in my life. The name comes from the fact that everybody has so much to say about Ntsiki Mazwai. This was me giving myself an opportunity to speak for myself because all this talk really bores me. Sometimes I wish I could stand on the tallest mountain and say “I am here to do my thing! Ndiyekeleni!” (Leave me alone)

Your spoken-word slash house collaboration with DJ Fresh on “Urongo” was quite a big hit. Who else have you worked with and would like to work with in the future? I've worked with Kylex “Ndaphiwa ngumama”, Guffy, Dj Mbuso and Dr Duda “Ode to an emcee”, Jazzworx “ngilosi yam”, Mahoota, “Love in Soweto and I hope that Dj Cleo is somewhere on journey- I love his work! Obviously Kentphonik are still my family. I’d love to work with Pro , Gift Gwe , Kelly Khumalo, Zim Ngqawana and Miss Winehouse herself (without the drugs though).

Who or what are you listening to right now? Amy Winehouse - that crazy gal inspires me! I'm ashamed to admit that I’m also crazy about AYO TECHNOLOGY (5bob (50cent), Justin and Timberland). I'm also listening to “Ntombazana how low can you go” by Krazy boy and DJ Cleo and to Busi Mhlongo's Urban Zulu.

Will you be collaborating with your sister Thandiswa Mazwai in future projects
I don't see why not....

Lately local artists have been speaking out about the political climate here at home and in Zimbabwe such as Zolani Mahola from Freshlyground and Jon Savage from Cassette who recently gave Mugabe the finger at the Oppikoppi music festival. Read more about it here What is your standpoint on that?
I believe that we should support if our support is needed. I think it’s a little self righteous to get involved and judgemental about other peoples business. I think some of this animosity is also linked to all the white farmers being kicked out. Hey man, we are hardly in a position to judge especially with our own problems with Xenophobia and racism. But bottom line is....Africa unite!

Take us through a day in the life of Ntsiki Mazwai.
There is no such thing as a typical day in my life. It all depends on the work load. My favorite days are spent on my couch watching DVDs. My reality involves regular exercise, rehearsals with my dancers, checking up on my admin and e/mails, some beading when I have customers, rehearsing my poems, making hits in studio (smiles) and feeding my fish.

-Gugulethu Mkhabela
Image credit: Images24
Ntsiki Mazwai is a poet, musician and beadwork designer (she’s the face for Beadex 2008). She’s also Amandla sister, Thandiswa Mazwai’s sibling. And she’s misunderstood by many. She recently made a bold statement when she posed nude for the Marie Claire rape campaign. We speak to this Proudly African sister about who and what Ntiski is really all about.

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