Ntsiki Mazwai, born on 3 September 1980 in Pimville Soweto, Gauteng, South Africa, is a social activist, musician, poet, and author. Her name Nontsikelelo, translates to ‘the mother of blessings’.
Known to her fans by her clan name MaMiya, she is sometimes described as the StreetQueen. Her social activism has lead to national debates about social issues affecting women in South Africa and her boldness has led her to becoming the voice of the voiceless.
Ntsiki is a brave and courageous woman, and a pioneer in the construction of what she terms ‘’Spoken Music”. She has influenced a popular trend of dance music producers collaborating with poets to create club hits. She also runs a blog and is a producer, beadwork artist.
Age and place of birth
Her date of birth is on 3 September 1980 and the place of birth is in Pimville Soweto, South Africa.
She was born to the family of Belede Mazwai and Dr. Thami Mazwai. She lost her mother at a young age, at 11 years, and had a rough childhood without her. Her parents were writers and once led the Pan African Congress. Her parents were journalists and very politically active and once led the Pan Africanist Congress. This means Ntsiki since birth, was raised on black consciousness. From a young age Ntsiki and her siblings were nurtured to read, know, and be aware of social conditions. Her spiritual energy is her gift and manifests itself in various ways. It started out as beadwork when she was 21. She is popular for participating in national debates on social media that affected South African women and youths.
She grew up alongside two sisters, who are notable personalities in the creative industry. Thandiswa Mazwai, her elder sister is a musician, lead vocalist. She is also a songwriter for the music group Bongo Maffin. Nomsa, her younger sister, was born in 1996.
In 2008 She graduated from IMM with a Diploma in Marketing Management. She studied Entrepreneurship and New Creation in 2014 at Wits Business School.
She holds a Masters of Arts in creative writing from Rhodes University in 2016.
Her mainstream entrance was via a compilation feature on Dj Glen Lewis album called Sisters in Songs released in 2004 with a song called Light up Life then followed by the successful release of Urongo on DJ Fresh’s Definition of House vol. 3 (2005), it went on to become the country’s biggest selling song of 2005. Having broken through in house music, Ntsiki explored different genres and sounds and her debut-album Mamiya (SAMA-nominated for best Urban Pop album in 2008) containing jazz, hip hop and soul, a definite token of her musical diversity. Her second album was Ndingubani (2013). Her latest release The Masterpiece(2018), was produced in Soweto
Her works explores the themes of femininity, black consciousness, racism, family dynamics and spirituality.
She originally directed herself into her beadwork range, The House of Mobu in 2001. Mobu is a Sesotho term for soil. Being an artist who has always been grounded and soulful, Ntsiki chose this name because it reflects a space where she can grow seeds and nurture her soul. It was launched in 2002 at the Hala cafe. Mobu has dressed African beauties such as the Mazwai girls, India Arie, Unathi, Claire Mawisa and the late mam Busi Mhlongo.
She performs poetry with a Disk Jockey and also with a full band. Ntiski has a unique style, she fuses her inspirational poems with beats. In 2003, Ntsiki alongside Lebo Mashile, Myesha Jenkins and Napo Masheane, created the Feelah Sista poetry collective which gave a platform to women’s voices in poetry. As a poet, Ntsiki has performed worldwide at various spoken word festivals in Italy, Jamaica, Tanzania, Belgium, the US, Holland and Zimbabwe and she was part of the cast of the Vagina Monologues. She has hosted regular poetry and music sessions such as Monday Blues, Sheila’s Day and Streetpop, has established and produced the monthly Mama Said. Her poetry anthology Wena was published in 2010.
Ntsiki is an outspoken voice for women and the importance of education. She uses her twitter account to engage and begin topics of discussion regarding social issues affecting women in South Africa. She is a READ SA Ambassador and has talks with girls to empower them. With the help from Building warehouse she has began a project to build libraries and schools in Soweto.
- Sneaking and Creeping
- African Skies
- Sweet Poison
- Mr. No Good
- Some Fathers of These Days
- “Golden Circle youth award for community service.”
- “LGBTI award for using Art for Social Issues.”
- “Most innovative Student (Wits Business School, 2014).”
- The House of Mobu – Beadwork Range (2002)
- MaMiya – Spoken Word SAMA nominated album (2008)
- Ntsiki Speaks – 1 woman play (2009, 2016)
- Wena – Poetry anthology (2010)
- Mama Said Session – Talkshow/Music series (2012-2013)
- NDINGUBANI – Spoken Word and Music album (2013)