Meet Nkwali the queen of Accappela

BULAWAYO - Musician actress and dancer Nomathamsanqa “Nkwali” Mkhwananzi has described the Best Acapella gong she won at the 2016 Zimbabwe Music Awards (Zima) as “ultimate reward for her patience.”

Despite being a long-time lead singer for Circus Mama Africa and touring over 20 countries with Iyasa and Albert Nyathi, 33-year old Nkwali only got to record her debut album titled “Sithokozile”  last year.

“I wanted to be ready for my debut album. Now I can safely say like wine I have matured with time. I have gained enough experience. I have performed before over 3000 people in different parts of the world.

“I just wanted to concentrate on my career, improve myself as well as market my works. I am glad that so far so good, I am in the right direction.I am not bragging but I think it is there for everyone to see. I recorded my first album late last year and in a space of four months I win an award,” she said.

The eight-track album by Nkwali, who was one of the founding members of Iyasa alongside the likes of Sandra Ndebele, contains such songs as Angifuni Mina, Malayisha, Ingoma, Laphumilanga, Bazali bami, Nyawo lwami and Madodana which are mostly traditional and gospel beats.

The 33-year old artiste’s talent was discovered at an early age.

“At seven, I was an extra in the 1992 American drama film titled ‘Power of One.” I remember seeing Morgan Freeman and Zimbabwe-born Alois Moyo who were the main characters. Surprisingly I only managed to watch the movie when I was 19.  And that alone made me feel that this was something I was born with it,” she told the Daily News on Sunday.

In 1999 after completing her Ordinary Levels she joined the then Mpopoma High school drama club and became one of the pioneer members of the trailblazing Iyasa that had in its ranks the likes of songbird Sandra Ndebele.

The affable artist, who is inspired by Imbube outfit Impumelelo Shining Stars who backed her on her debut album, paid tribute to Iyasa.

“I am an Iyasa baby. The skills and knowledge that I have mostly came from Iyasa together with its leader Nkululeko Dube,” she said

While at Iyasa where she was a lead vocalist, dancer and actress rolled into one, Nkwali attracted the attention of Mother Africa Circus –an international arts outfit made up of 45 artists from different African countries such as Zimbabwe, South Africa, Tanzania, Ivory Coast, Ethiopia, Gambia and Kenya.

“I joined Mother Africa Circus in 2006 after we successfully auditioned for the show together with Silethemba and Siphephiso Magonya. All of us were from Iyasa. The organisers were looking for slim, tall people who could also sing and dance and we made the grade.

“We have toured many parts of the world as part of Mother Africa Circus. Talk of New Zealand, Austria, Singapore, Australia, Germany, Spain, Ethiopia, Gambia, Benin and Kenya among a host of others,” she said proudly.

As a result she said all this meant she now have the much needed experience in the industry.

“Now I can safely say like wine I have matured with time. I have gained enough experience, I have performed before over 3000 people in different parts of the world,” she confidently said.

She revealed that although she was now concentrating more on her career she was not quitting Mother Africa.

“I just want to concentrate on my career, improve myself as well as market my works. I am glad that so far so good, I am in the right direction, I am not bragging but I think it’s for everyone to see. I just recorded my first album late last year and in a space of four months I win an award,” she said.

Nkwali is proud to have met country music legend Dolly Parton in 2012 while on tour with Mother Africa Circus.

“I met Dolly in the United States at her Lunar Park called Dollywood. She joined us while we were on stage after that I also managed to have a one on one with her. Talking to her made me feel that this was what I was born for. You know when you are endorsed by such people you can only feel that wow I am ready to conquer the world,” remembered the 33-year old mother of one.

Though she is determined to invest a lot time and effort in her solo music projects, she was quick to point out that she won’t quit Mother Africa Circus anytime soon.

“I have no plans to quit .I just want to concentrate on my career, improve myself as well as market my works. I feel I am in the right direction. I am not bragging but I think it is there for everyone to see. I just recorded my first album late last year and in a space of four months I win an award,” she said.

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