I'm so glad I met Sesi Madjozi!

This past weekend I attended Sho Madjozi’s birthday meet and greet at Mamasan Eatery in Melville. 



I was so glad to have the opportunity to meet and speak to Madjozi (and in our home language) because I am a big fan of the way she infuses her work – visuals, poetry, and now music – with elements of her Xitsonga heritage. It is also my heritage, and I love seeing it modernised and brought into the mainstream through her work.

Her City Press trending cover was amazing.

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The joy and pride she has on her face extends to the swish of her xibelani and micheka. The image becomes even more special when you know that it was her grandmother who styled her for the shoot. It’s another way that Madjozi manages to bring her heritage, her values and her work (which has an international appeal, thanks to the time she spent travelling, living and studying abroad) together to create a uniquely captivating identity.

I first discovered Madjozi – real name Maya Wegerif – in a YouTube video a few years ago. In it, she recites her poem, "Why You Talk So White?", about a girl affirming herself and her identity in the face of deliberate misunderstanding and judgement of those around her. Her poem was about the experience of being biracial in today's world, but I related to it because it confirmed for me that it is okay for a young black woman to present as a multifaceted being. Watch the video below to see for yourself:


Maya’s brand of poetry is socially conscious, but not in a way that preaches to the listener. Instead, the work invites people to engage and reflect.



 

Maya has set one of her poems to music in the past (watch the video on OkayAfrica here), and she continued this trend with Probleme.
What started as an Instagram rap back in July 2014, evolved into a banger with the help of DJ Maphorisa:



(Maya is wearing a xibelani as a top. I can't even deal.)

There are no known plans to produce a full-length album as yet, but Madjozi’s music doesn’t need an “official” format. Already her fans are downloading and enjoying whatever she puts out.



Madjozi is also on TV, on Mzansi Magic’s Isithembiso. I have yet to watch an episode of the show, but if the hard work, dedication and infectious positive energy she exhibits elsewhere is anything to go by, she is excelling in that space, too.

I can’t wait to see what my multi-talented homegirl (yes, I’m claiming her!) does in the future. It’s guaranteed to be spectacular. 

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