Rapper, poet and actress Maya Christinah Xichavo Wegerif, better known by her adopted stage name Sho Madjozi, 26, will certainly make any list of musical gifts to South Africa – or talented artistes at the moment, if you please.
Born 9 May 1992 in Mozambique, Sho Madjozi, whose gen res alternate between house afropop and hip hop, is probably one of the better educated South African musicians singing at the moment, having obtained a degree in African studies and creative writing at Mount Holyoke College in the United States.
Sho Madjozi, who Ganja Beatz had featured on “Night and Day” alongside Lady Zamar and Sjava, may have started her rap career as a spoken word poet with the then adopted alias Maya ThePoet, but she has since risen to one of the most recognized voices in South African music with a couple of milestones and firsts to her name.
Back in her early days as a performance poet, race, politics and identity interwove her offerings, including the famous poem “Sometimes it Pours,” which is still being read today.
Her stint as a performance poet may have prepared her for the role of rapper, as at the moment one cannot listen to her and not be excited by her voice, her devotion to her art, and of course he exquisite delivery.
Her musical powers had provoked the interest of some industry leaders, who’d featured her with eager readiness. She had appeared on pH’s “A Mi Ku Yini (What Are They Sayin’),” DJ Maphorisa’s “Probleme” (alongside DJ Hu Nose) and Okmalumkoolkat’s “Ngiyashisa Bhe!”
Sho Madjozi, who raps in her native tongue Tsonga, had also veered into the Swahili language with he song “Huku,” which has since become a hit, with over a million views on YouTube. Ironically, as Sho Madjozi narrated last year, whereas the song is famous in Tanzania, she is not particularly well-known there.
Maybe not – at the time anyway – but Sho Madjozi has been flying and flying, with gigs in New York alongside some superstars, including Cardi B and The Weekend. She was on the line up for the Global Citizen Festival in Soweto in December 2018, which had stars like Beyonce and Jay-Z performing.
She had appeared in the popular American magazine The Fader last year, as well as earned a role as the fce of Trace Mobile’s #NEVEREXPIRE campaign. For many, Sho Madjozi, who had represented South Africa (alongside Nakhane and Manthe Ribane) at the Afropunk Festival in Brooklyn last year, has done it all and is already at the peak of her game.
While we readily agree that Sho Madjozi is at the peak of her game, we yet hold that music lovers are in fact yet to see the very best of her. Her talents have never been in doubt. Now and again we get to see her talents in new manifestations.
For many across Africa, Sho Madjozi has been doing wonders in the hall of African music. But we think the world has not seen anything yet. She is yet flowering. This is just the beginning for a jewel in the sun.