Why Sho Madjozi is so RIGHT for SA RIGHT NOW
It is exhilarating to see the start of a talented artist’s career and this is what happened when South Africa embraced the arrival of its daughter, Sho Madjozi. Brimming with talent and creativity, awash with urban relevance, proud and undaunted in her expression of her Xitsonga culture, Sho Madjozi is reveling in redefining African pop-culture and we are loving it, as she proudly tells the world: “This is who we really are!”
In the midst of her chosen music vernacular of upbeat Gqom, exists a dexterous and insightful mind, wielding anthropological deconstruction of racial identity and the effects of colonialism on the modern African. Her writing skills, transitioning from poetry to frenetic rapping, promotes Tsonga culture and inspires young Africans to be proud of their roots. It is a beguiling mixture of guerilla journalism, performance poetry and hip-hop through the lens of contemporary urban African youth.
But it’s not all social science. Sho Madjozi has previously explained that African artists need to understand that they are very hot in the world right now and need to negotiate their value appropriately. This underscores a succinct understanding of the value of one’s skills & experiences in efforts to accelerate your career and reap the just rewards. It is a lesson the children of colonialism are encouraged to learn.
In a swift move of entrepreneurship, she launched her first clothing line (a partnership with Edgars) at the same time as her album dropped. Her brand, calling on people to express their individuality, is an echo of her own style expression. Sho Madjozi deftly fuses fashion and the power of hair to showcase Xitsonga culture by highlighting traditional wear in a modern context. “My braids represent Afro futurism. The question is: what would a globalized young African be if she was not interrupted by the horror of colonialism and apartheid? My braids are the answer,” the artist explains.
She expands further, on Instagram: “One of the things I’m learning while shooting [the documentary] #TheHistoryOfXibelani is that Xibelani fashion has been changing and evolving for centuries. And usually it’s the artists who introduce new styles of wearing it. It’s actually our duty to move culture forward.”
Given her energy, intellect and drive combined with an assured sense of self-belief, it continues to be unsurprisingly revelatory that Sho Madjozi’s success in the past year has been with no label support, culminating with four SAMA nominations and a BET Award, an international hit (“John Cena”) and a trending dance challenge. Early 2020 would see Sho Madjozi take to the stage for an unforgettable performance with international DJ superstar DIPLO at BUDX Miami during the SuperBowl weekend, a gathering of the world’s most creative influencers. And she is just warming up.
To the world, we say this is who we are … and Sho Madjozi is just one of many.
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.