Holy “Mother Ghost” Alpha Cometh.
- Who is the Mother Ghost that haunts the streets?
- Kasi Culture Vibes.
- Nurturing a career.
- Working the biz of relevance and the future.
It’s no surprise to see Holy “Mother Ghost” Alpha ascend to prominence. South Africa with its myriad issues, often gives rise to the heroes it needs. There have been so many artists during the struggle who championed freedom. Today is no different, and South Africa again has need of its artist heroes to give voices to the voiceless and narrate experiences felt & reflected by the collective. As always women take the brunt of the fall out: economically, socially, physically, and spiritually. Into the mucky midst of Gender Based Violence, women being brutally silenced and repressed, Holy “Mother Ghost” Alpha is blazing a trail through South African Hip Hop, to claim her place and make her voice heard. Much depends on it.
Who is the Mother Ghost that haunts the streets?
Sanele Alpha Gwabe (Alpha is her real name) is a rapper from Khayelitsha, Cape Town. Born into a musical family (her father was a musician), music was a shared language that not only bonded them, it also became one of collective creative expression and exposed the young artist to classical techniques that she would intuitively make her own.
It would seem that language would always be a pervading factor to Holy Alpha’s art. One that would become a question of expression and identity. Said Holy Alpha: “When I started rapping, I never rapped in my native language, IsiXhosa. I was only rapping in English, mainly because I felt like I wouldn’t be able to connect with my audience if I rapped in Xhosa. This was actually ironic, because I soon realized that I couldn’t fully express myself as an artist, I couldn’t tell the stories that I wanted to tell in English. So, after much thought and realization, I decided that I wasn’t going to care about what people had to say or what they thought, but I was going to start rapping in Xhosa. This was unexpected, but this was me! I’m not going to lie though, not knowing how people would respond was actually quite overwhelming, BUT, people actually liked it!”
Kasi Culture Vibes.
Known on the streets as “Mama Ghost”, Alpha is driven by the need to tell stories that are unique and authentic to her experience and upbringing in her “kasi”, Khayelitsha, Cape Town. At once autobiographical, her experience-filled lyrics are demanding and intimate. Combined with her Xhosa storytelling techniques, her verse is powered by a hyperreality and intelligent awareness of the here and now. Her delivery is feisty, confrontational, and somewhat aggressive. But before you think of her as an angry black woman, she is so much more, and like so many women of South Africa she has a right to be angry about certain issues. And, to express her anger.
Where her male counter parts swagger about making bank and scoring p*ssy, her narrative deconstructs what many women deal with on a daily basis, an unfortunate baseline of sexual harassment and even abuse. Alpha explains: “For example, you will meet a producer, and you need a studio to record your songs, but because you’re an independent artist and money may be tight, that producer will say, “It’s okay, you can record for free, but I am expecting something in return”. Every day is a constant struggle. So many hectic things happen, I don’t want to lie. But you just have to be strong and stand your ground! As a woman, I know what I want, and I am who I think I am! So if you think you’re going to get my cookie in return, you are mistaken! You have some nerve!”
Nurturing a career.
One of the co-winners of the annual Sportscene 2021 “Put Me On” Competition, Holy Alpha gained a lot of traction through her highly stylised brand of Hip Hop. A determined investment in her craft and riveting performances soon spread the word. She started recording music in 2016, dropped her first single in 2017, and has never looked back. In 2020 she released the single “GHOST”. Fans have come in their droves, including industry household names such as DJ Dimplez, Reason, Ph and Tweezy, proudly tweeting about her talent. Name-dropped on MTV Base’s “Hottest MCs New Wave 2021” TV show, in the barometer of all things culturally cool, Holy Alpha has been simmering along nicely and is poised to boil over into the popularity she deserves. As a new arrival to the music scene and an underdog with a point to prove, Alpha is bold and hungry for success, presenting an artist with versatility, an amazing stage presence and enough chops to take on her colleagues in the biz when it comes to spitting bars.
Working the biz of relevance and the future.
“Mama Ghost” has touched a cultural nerve with her dynamic performances and is galvanizing a fan base amongst the urban youth as seen at “Bhomza Events”, opening for the Tall Racks Queen Rowlene and headlining at Benny Afroe’s event, Drip Sunday’s, where she took the crowd by storm. She is earning her stripes by putting in the work, having collaborated with Reason, Yanga Chief, Phantom Steez, Champuru, and Faith.
Riding her current wish list to collab with in the future is Costa Titch, but we can expect more music and visuals. Mama Ghost is coming… soon!
C.S.A.’s monthly cultural portal, The WIRE connects the dots of culture. With concise stories, many with video content, take a premium dive into the world of African entertainment & cultural fluidity. It’s one thing to be hip to what’s happening but it is another to know why.
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