The soul of Mama Afrika meets the fire of Motown and Soul… in a pint-sized packet of dynamite. After a mere six years in the industry, and with over twenty international tours under her belt, Nomfusi has become one of South Africa’s most sought-after performers worldwide. Indeed, there is nothing small about the tiny songstress with the gigantic voice and tons of charm. With sheer will and determination, she has risen from the squalor of South African squatter camps to some of the finest stages of the world.
Likened by critics to a young Miriam Makeba with a twist of Tina Turner, the multiple SAMA and Metro FM Award nominee embraces both her African heritage and the sounds of Soul and Motown she grew up with. Like a purifying wild fire that cuts through the bone, her cathartic performances have been praised across the globe.
Areas of Representation: North & South America, Australia/New Zealand, UK
The soul of Mama Afrika meets the fire of Motown and Soul… in a pint-sized packet of dynamite. After a mere six years in the industry, and with over twenty international tours under her belt, Nomfusi has become one of South Africa’s most sought-after performers. Indeed, there is nothing small about the tiny songstress with the gigantic voice and tons of charm. With sheer will and determination, she has risen from the squalor of South African squatter camps to some of the major stages of the world. Likened by critics to a young Miriam Makeba with a twist of Tina Turner, the multiple SAMA and Metro FM Award nominee embraces both her African heritage and the sounds of Soul and Motown she grew up with. Like a purifying wild fire that cuts through the bone, her cathartic performances have been praised across the globe.
Nomfusi has given riveting performances across Europe and Canada at prestigious festivals such as WOMAD in England, performing with Angelique Kidjo at the Afrikadey Festival in Canada, and to an audience of more than 8000 at FMM Sines in Portugal, and Lugano Jazz Festival. Recently she opened for superstar Lionel Richie at Stimmen Festival in Loerrach, Germany. Nomfusi was chosen to portray the character of Miriam Makeba in “Long Walk To Freedom,” the film about the life of Nelson Mandela, Released in early 2014, it is, according to the Hollywood Reporter “the largest South African production ever mounted”.
The SAMA nominated singer, based in Johannesburg, is now counted among the top ten rising stars on ETV Showbiz Report in South Africa. She has been featured in more than fifty publications, including Drum (who gave her 5 stars for her debut album), Rolling Stones Magazine, Cosmopolitan, Glamour and Destiny, and she has appeared on the cover of High Flyers, Mango Juice and The Sowetan newspaper. Nomfusi’s life story has been captured widely in the media. Chris Blackwell, the founder of Island Records, who discovered Bob Marley, Angelique Kidjo and U2, said of Nomfusi after viewing a touching documentary of her life and music: “What a terrific young artist, her genuine concern for her community and beyond comes through SO strongly.”
Nomfusi’s life story was described in Rolling Stone South Africa as “the sort of story Hollywood is bound to snap up.” She was born in the township of KwaZhakele in the Eastern Cape. Her single mother, Kwazibani (“Who Knows?” in English) raised her while her father languished in jail for 21 years. A domestic worker by day, Kwazibani was a sangoma (African medicine woman) with a gift for music. Nomfusi would accompany her mother to the weekly sangoma rituals (“Intlombe”) where Nomfusi would develop her musicality by dancing and singing for hours.
Tragically, in 1998, Nomfusi was suddenly orphaned at the age of twelve when her mother died of AIDS. Nomfusi’s aunt took them in, but she also died of the same disease three years later. With remarkable inner strength, Nomfusi turned her situation around to become one of South Africa’s brightest stars. Never one to pity herself, but teaching kids and adults “that life is about choices,” and that “one has to overcome the poverty of the mind first,” she has done outreach work at schools for vulnerable children in Soweto, Swaziland and Malawi. She’s been invited three times to serve on a panel at an annual symposium at The Afrikadey Festival in Calgary, Canada, to discuss the role of women and the arts in Africa. She has recently become an ambassador for MES, an NPO based in Hillbrow that helps homeless individuals get back on their feet.
Nomfusi, just as much a child of the soil as a woman of the world, cares deeply for her community, while not shying away from the world of glitz, glamour and success. As she sings in her anthem against poverty, “Nontsokolo,”: “Remember your sister, your brother, your mother and your neighbour. Don’t leave them behind. Go back, and make a difference.”
- Photos: Kyiv musicians bring soul to Niagara
Ukraine world-music quartet DakhaBrakha entertains FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre audience
Wed., March 1, 2023
DakhaBrakha, an ensemble from Kyiv, Ukraine, brought their eclectic style of world music to the stage at FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre in St. Catharines Wednesday night.
- DakhaBrakha Wins globalFEST’s Artist Award
globalFEST presents a series of annual awards that celebrate those that excel in the underrecognized but crucial global music field in the USA.
The awards are presented to artists, professionals, and organizations who have been instrumental in making significant, long-standing contributions to the field through risk-taking; addressing cultural diversity and diplomacy; activism; helping to keep, transmit, ...
- DakhaBrakha’s Ukraine Update: Dec 2022
Excerpt from interview in the Greek journal Hellas: Posts English
When the war started were you in Ukraine? What is happening in the country right now?
“When the war started we were all in Ukraine. At that particular moment we had started our tour of Ukraine. In fact, we had to travel to another city in the ...
- Songlines 2022 Fusion Award Winner: Justin Adams & Mauro Durante: Still Moving on Ponderosa Music
Justin Adams has long been an adventurous serial collaborator, but his album with Mauro Durante – leader of Italy’s premier pizzica band Canzoniere Grecanico Salentino, who won the Songlines Music Award for Best Group in 2018 – ranks among his finest achievements. The meeting point for the musicians was a fascination with trance rhythms and ...
“The Red Stoep places Nomfusi’s voice at its heart. Its evocative power allows her to traverse social issues as effortlessly as matters of the heart and spirit and draws us together in this time of great need…
Nomfusi invites us all to join her in her observations of life and to share her devotion to her lineage (Xhosa clicks) and her belief in the possibilities of merging roots sounds – irresistible maskandi guitars, keyboard grooves and township rhythms.” SONGLINES, November 2021
The new generation Miriam Makeba brought South African flair to Remise Bludenz: Nomfusi inspires with concentrated energy and vocal power”. VOL.AT, November 2021
“The Tinkerbell of Afropop and her nifty back-up band – Grandal, Godfrey, Colin, and Mark – blend Fifties soul-jazz with modern cool for a spectacular show of past meets present.” ROLLING STONE, SA
“A refreshing blast of energy.” (WOMAD UK) ~ DAMIEN RAFFERTY, UK
“A cross between Tina Turner and Miriam Makeba, Sophiatown meets Motown – Nomfusi is a rare musical gem with the ability to ignite fire in your soul, but also manages to soothe the very burning sensation you may feel.” – VOLUME, SA
“Unlike many of her more image- conscious peers, Nomfusi’s music has a vivacity, danceability and community awareness that’s clearly descended from the tradition of vocalists such as Dolly Rathebe.” – Gwen Ansell, jazz columnist, BUSINESS DAY, SA