By Caroline Nyanga

Spotting a strapless flowing purple dress that flatters her feminity, Ntsiki Mazwai’s — not to be confused with her diva sister, Thandiswa Mazwai who started with Kwaito group Bongo Muffin — powerful and fresh vocals serenade the audience as she saunters on stage singing Funk Afrika.

Her stage presence is enviable as she performs her next popular set of songs Qhawekazi, Tumie, Sweet Poison, Jazz Worx, Azanian Love Song . She brings the roof down with Mamiya — a song deeply rooted to her clan. In fact, Ntsiki is popularly known by her clan name, Mamiya.

But the talented singer, poet, women’s rights activist, thespian and fashionista was not done. She recites a powerful poem that audience nods in unison.

The Face of Beadex’s slow poetic recital captivated the large audience who yearned for more even when her time was up. Later we sat down for an interview.

"I feel honoured that Kenyans appreciate my music. My aim is to engage my audience, and impart positive energy with the greatest weapon that I posses — my voice," she says.

Ntsiki, a beadwork designer maintains that although she has covered a lot of ground in championing women’s rights there is still a lot ground to be covered.

Having grown up in Soweto, she says the plight of women and children in her country and around the continent, that prompted her to stand up and be part of the movement.

"For a long time, women have been struggling to emerge from the shadows of their male counterparts."

Ntsiki reveals that she intends to embark on a world-wide music tour upon returning to South Africa.

"I will use the opportunity to let the world know what an African woman can do and the way forward," she says.

Her album MaMiya was nominated for a South African Music Award (SAMA) in the category for Best Urban Pop Album says her secret lies in her talent, and being at the right place at the right time.

"It’s sad to note that a section of African musicians lacks identity and may not succeed," she adds.

She has worked with a number of South African producers including Mahoota, Semitone, 37mph, Jazzworx and Mpho Mokwele.

The musician is best known for her songs, Light Up My Life, Urongo, Ndaphiwa Ngumama, Come Back To Me featuring Black Coffee, Ode to an Emcee, Rise, and Funk Afrika, among others."The fact that I have been blessed with the gift of being artistically expressive has allowed me to share my life’s journey with the masses of South Africa and beyond."

She is also controversial to boot. A few months ago when South Africa celebs were requested to pose on Marie Claire magazine to raise awareness about rape she did not go full monty like other celebs but went the whole hog.

She said the photo shoot was not meant to be sexual, but educational and to dispel social myths.

Register to advertise your products & services on our classifieds website and enjoy one month subscription free of charge and 3 free ads on the Standard newspaper.

Ntsiki Mazwai South African Music Award SAMA