Over the years Ntsiki Mazwai has developed a reputable career in South Africa’s art scene. Ntsiki who is a musician, activist, blogger and poet was born in Soweto, South Africa.
Ntsiki often adopts her clan name – MaMiya.
Her body of work is incredibly diverse and cuts across all range. She has two spoken word albums – ‘Ndingubani’ and ‘Mamiya’
She also has beadwork fashion house – The house of Mobu.
Her personal blog has gained attention and notoriety over the years due to it’s outspoken nature.
Ntsiki Mazwai has also published a poetry anthology – Wena – that can be described as autobiographical.
Ntsiki has also recorded music with several artists including Thandiswa, Mandla Spikiri, Pops Mohamed, DJ Euphonic, Mahoota, Khuli Chana and many more.
As an artist, she has performed in Tanzania, Belgium, Kenya, Italy, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Amsterdam, United States of American and as expected, South Africa.
Ntiski Mazwai is also a budding theatre producer with plays like ‘Ntsiki Speaks’ and ‘The Mama Said Sessions’.
She gained mainstream fame in 2005 with her hit song ‘uRongo’. Years in the underground music scene helped Ntiski build a dedicated fanbase.
uRongo, which was a mix of house music and poetry, brought attention to Ntiski’s album and style of music.
In 2008, she was nominated for the Best Urban Pop Album at the South African Music Awards.
Ntsiki Mazwai also toured with musician, MaxHoba, to promote a remake of ‘Azanian Love Song’ – a poetry collection by Dr Don Mattera.
Ntsiki Mazwai’s birth name is Nontsikelelo Mazwai. She was born in September ,1980 in Soweto in the Gauteng province of South Africa.
Her name – Nontsikelelo means ‘the mother of blessings’.
She grew up in Pimville with her parents who were journalists. Her parents were also highly politically active, instilling political consciousness into their children.
Her parents raised her and her sisters to be fully aware of their social environment and how to respond to it. This has gone on to be a great influence on Ntiski’s works.
Her works have become notable over the years because of their inclusion of themes such as black consciousness, spirituality, femininity, racism and family dynamics.
Ntsiki Mazwai’s parents were members of the Pan Africanist Congress as well
Even though Ntsiki gained mainstream popularity in 2005, she actually began her artistry in 2002 through her bead work and performing her music and poetry in Johannesburg’s pubs and restaurants.
She is considered a pioneer in the popular trend where dance music artists and poets merge their genres to create mainstream hits. She refers to this trend as “taking literature to the dance floor.”
Ntsiki is also noted for being very outspoken on her social media platforms. She has used her social media to call out politicians, musicians and the government in general.
Ntsiki Mazwai is also known for her use of ‘Open Letters’ to speak on matters she considers relevant.
One such open letter is “Dear Black People” where she calls out black people for behaving white.
Another Open Letter by Ntsiki Mazwai that gained attention was her letter to Cassper Nyovest.
She has repeatedly used her platform to participate in several campaigns addressing issues which girls and young women face in South Africa today. Of those issues rape and abuse is a primary agenda for Ntsiki Mazwai.
Mazwai also makes concrete attempts to mentor younger artists on the rise when she can. Ntsiki Mazwai has benefited from working with more seasoned artists such as Mahoota, Dj Mbuso and Pops Mohammed. This helped her establish herself with a more mature audience as well.
She is also not one to back down from a fight – quite literally. She was featured in several headlines after she got into a physical confrontation with popular South African rapper – AKA on ‘Katch It With Khanyi’ (Khanyi Mbau’s talk show) after AKA insisted he wasn’t going to share a couch with her, labelling her as ‘rude’.
Ntsiki Mazwai comes from a talented, politically conscious family which easily manifests itself in her two sisters – Thandiswa Mazwai and Nomsa Mazwai.
The sisters who each have their own thing going on frequently come together to work together in order to create awareness for certain various social issues.
Thandiswa is currently the lead vocalist for Bongo Maffin – one of South Africa’s most celebrated bands. After five successful albums, Thandiswa released her first solo album in 2004. The album, Zabalaza won numerous awards and acquired double platinum status, cementing her place as one of South Africa’s most influential musicians.
Nomsa is an award winning musician as well. She is also a Fulbright scholar.
Nomsa graduated with Bachelors degree in Economics from the University of Fort Hare in South Africa. She later got her Masters’ degree in International and Political Economy and Development from Fordham University in New York.
Much like Ntsiki, Thandiswa and Nomsa’s art are heavily influenced by the political awareness and social consciousness their parents instilled into them from a very young age.