Letter to Matumelo


It has taken me over 10years to write this letter to you…so much happened between us in such a short space of time. So much pain, joy and tragedy.

We met in 1996 when we were 16 years old. My father was to marry your mother. My mother had died when I was 12.


I was excited to have a new family. It would make my then single parent family a ‘real’ family. We were both in Umtata for school holidays. You and I had already begun chatting on the phone since we were born in the same year. We had been chatting for a few weeks.


I came over to visit you at your grandmothers in Southernwood. You made me watch the video of your granddads funeral….ALL of it. Something I would soon learn you would do quite often. You idolised the man. You spoke about him all the time. Just like I idolised my mother and spoke about her all the time. Our immediate connection was a spiritual one. We were both still deeply attached to our ‘dead.’


That was not our only connection though. We were both deep thinkers, both poets.

We would engage in long discussions about life at 16.

While I could get derailed by my love of boys, you were always quite solid in your depth. I imagine that you were quite a loner and reader, but our personalities balanced so our years together were a series of fun, laughter and corruption.

In high school we were a powerful couple you and I.

Although we went to different schools, we had the ability to create fun and partying wherever we went. I always had a people personality so I would be the life of the operation, you were a chief strategist so everything we did as a mob of girls, was your plan. I was the party, you were the execution.

We were a formidable pair in our teens.


Everything naughty, I did with you by my side. My first drink, my first spliff and my 1st sneaking out the house are all memories of you. The thing about you is that you were ahead of your time, so you knew HOW to be naughty…without getting caught. And I got to come along for the ride.


We shared a bedroom and secrets for many years. We knew each other’s dreams and fears. We knew what to say to piss the other one off. We knew how to fight and make up. We knew how to manipulate situations to go in our favour. We knew we were a team. We knew we were loyal to each other.


We always had separate friends…you and I, together had the ability to merge the two groups and have crazy episodes.


I remember when we were 18 and just discovered weed. We (about 7 girls) would buy a full chicken or two and chips, smoke; eat and then pass out by the pool like lazy crocodiles. That’s how we spent December 1998. That, and going to parties with the boys you grew up with, bumpimg the TKZee album in a convoy. We lived the life of BadGirls in the safe environment we called sisterhood.

You and I were soul mates. We were in tune with each other’s vibrations. We were each other’s darkness and light. You and I committed to our relationship and gave each other realness.


We would sleep with the radio on because I was in love with music, then I would wake you up in the middle of the night when a beautiful song was playing. I did that to you all the time…and you never complained.


Many people think me being crucified all the time is only now, but that is only because of social networks. You saw me being ganged up on when we were young and you provided a place of solace for me. You knew when we were young that I get backlash and you never judged me. In fact you used to laugh about all of it. Every time the world turned its back on me….you were always there. You were truly a good friend to me.


Of course our relationship was not perfect and eventually a lot of distance came between us when we hit our early 20s. Life’s realities became a little bit heavier to carry.

While every family is dysfunctional, we let ours break us apart.

The time we spent together started to get less and the phone calls stopped….we started to become strangers. Neither one of us knew how to reach into the others world, without confronting the family dysfunction. So we let each other slip away.


At 25, in October 2005, I flew down to Cape Town one weekend, located your old friends and broke down about having a bad feeling about something. I did not know what. My impulses just said go to Cape Town, so I went. I returned to Johannesburg the next night for a gig. It was raining heavily that night. There was a thunderstorm. I had a beautiful show and got into a random fight with my dancers. I threw a crazy tantrum, one which I had to apologise for at a later stage. My spirit was just off.

I went home. In the morning I got a phone call that you had been in a car accident and died.

You always said you would leave in the rains.


Owing to the colourful nature of our family dysfunction, I didn’t really get to say goodbye to you. I don’t even know where the accident spot is. I was not included in the family process. We had drifted so far apart that I couldn’t even stand up for our bond. In spite of the fact that everybody knew we were inseparable…..everybody also knew that in the end….we had died.

So I didn’t get to give you a beautiful speech at your send off….I didn’t get the chance to play ‘Missing You by Brandy, Tamia and them like we promised each other when the song came out. We said whoever dies 1st, the other has to play that song at the funeral. They didn’t ask me to speak, so I didn’t play our song.

I’m sorry things got so bad….so bad that I never got to say goodbye properly.


I tried to visit your grave a few times……but I found no peace there…perhaps it is because you and I never got to have this conversation.


It is your birthday today….you would have been 36.

I miss you Tumie…..everybody who witnessed our love, saw the dance of soul mates…..and in your own words……



I carry our memories in my heart and I welcome you as my guardian angel…..I will never forget the times, laughter and joy we shared. I will never forget the pain too. I remember your beautiful hair and your brilliant mind with fondness.

Here’s to 36 gyel!!!!!!!!


When women fight….

There are many isms going on lately on twitter…I have lost track. What is most apparent to me is the deformation of feminism. The use of big words and judgements is the new age of feminism. We can’t just be human beings who disagree with each other.


When I disagree with women, it is called woman bashing, even when that woman is wrong. Does feminism overlook principles? I am at odd end with many male celebrities, but I am never accused of male bashing. It is only when I disagree with women, that it is called bashing.


Do women not have a place disagree with each other? Is that why we walk around with bottled animosity amongst ourselves? Is it because we have been taught to submit and endure any abuse we may encounter? When the men are at each other’s throats it is accepted by society as a human confrontation. However, when women are at odd ends they are not awarded the space to ’fight it out,’ as women.

It is unladylike….or they are stooping so low. *_*


Basically, women must ALWAYS behave accordingly.

That is a set up for failure…..everybody is human first.


I don’t know which feminism you follow but right now I reserve the right to show all my emotions in all their glory….wether you think I’m right or I’m wrong.


The principles I live by are not gender specific….and I will call it out as I see it.


And don’t disrespect me….and expect me to act like a lady.


Beyonce is not feminist.

It always breaks my heart when I see how the black girl has fallen for this gimmick called Beyonce. This created image of greatness….and I use the word ‘created’ deliberately.


The greatness in marketing is that you get to control the narrative. The current Beyonce narrative is, being fake is called success.

Some people think money is success…..that is debatable. Many people with no money have shifted the consciousness of a people. There are Real heroes who use their natural abilities to effect real change.


Beyonce is not a feminist. She is a female yes…but she is not feminist. Feminism is more about protecting the equal rights of women. Parading around in lingerie is more closely linked to ‘sex sells.’

I am of the belief that women can dress as they please….but if it’s for male pleasure, then that is part of patriarchy.

Women need to get out of the mental state that we have to be half naked to get attention.

Your sexuality as a woman should be about YOU……not about pleasing men.

If you are doing your performances in lingerie, that places us in the bedroom. It leads us to sex. And sex sells.

Beyonce’s team knows this.

Beyonce’s team also knows that in our generation there is a buzz around ‘feminism.’

We have seen many on twitter ride that wave for followers/relevance.


It is patriarchy that teaches women that they cannot just show up as themselves….they have to dress themselves up to be appetizing.

Beyonce is doing it just right….She has taken stripping out of the strip club and made it more acceptable on mtv.


Beyonce is also not really about black girls. She is an extension of the Barbie range.

Beyonce has taught black girls that they need weaves.

If Beyonce was REALLY about black girls she would be inspiring black girls to take pride in themselves. She is not.

Adorned in a weave, with layers of make up, photoshop and lighting she has made us think the fake image of her is her success. In other words, if you want to be successful you must kinda look white.


Can we also not run away with our fascination with ‘yellow bones?’ Beyonce’s image plays right into that small self hate issue we have.

In all honesty, if you took off Beyonces weave and washed off her make up and put her in Eldos…..I don’t think she will be the best looking. I truly don’t. A lot of Beyonce is a made up image.

And what’s up with us thinking that to be the most beautiful black girl….you must have mixed blood?


Beyonce is keeping black girls so fixated on weaves and make-up, they have no time to work on the systemised knock on their confidence. It is clear to the whole world that black women have a low self esteem about their hair. Beyonce feeds into this.

I am honestly not sure HOW beyonce is our image of beauty…..when she relies on ‘things’ to be beautiful.


In the world we live in, the ONLY way a black person has access to media control is through white capital…..especially in America. White capital is not trying to promote anyone with a black consciousness agenda. Look what they did to Lauryn Hill.

When she started speaking truth to power they did a whole smear campaign to convince us she is crazy.

For as long as you do not interfere with white supremacy you will be the queen B that rules. Not only that, but they will push their products through you. In fact, white media creates black stars with the sole purpose of selling their products.


Those who are learned in marketing and media know that all information comes from the top and is filtered down to all the legs of that media house.

For example, take Media 24, when they want to push something or someone, they will use Drum Magazine, True Love, Move magazine, sowetan, destiny and their other platforms. One press release has access to many magazines.

What the normal person is unaware of is that, the information they receive in different magazines all has one source.


White media has created Beyonce. As a result, they will use ALL their legs to push her. She makes money for them. They put in lots of money into her to create an illusion…..an illusion that black girls have fallen for. This Machine called Beyonce is not a human being….but a creation by the people who need to make money off the idea.


The fact that black girls are chasing an illusion is scary for me. You can never be Beyonce. Even Beyonce is not Beyonce.


Beyonce is a light skinned sister who has been afforded a lot of privilege because of her white likeliness. White people have found her beauty acceptable so they love her, black people are fixated with yellowbones, so they love her too.


There are those who argue that she works very hard. Truth is….most artists do, especially independent ones. If you put these artists in that white machine, they would be rendered greatness too. Greatness is rendered by the media…according to you.


Beyonce came from a well off family. Her parents sold everything and made Beyonce their day job. Beyonce’s peers have not had the same privilege. Her peers have had to do their own work, and find their own identity.


Beyonce is also married to a powerful industry man…this puts her in quite a lucrative position.


Beyonce has had a privileged journey.

She is not a feminist.

She is not black conscious.

She is privileged.


My African sisters…..I don’t know how to take you seriously when you have taken a tokoloshe seriously and placed it on a pedestal.

This concept of Beyonce is all in the mind…..


You are up in arms defending a Cinderella story…..nothing real.


Do you REALLY want you r life to about weaves and lingerie? Looks are so temporary.

How about you hail someone who is addressing your real issues?

We are out here dealing with absent fathers, an attack on our hair, unfair employment practices, rape, homophobia, domestic violence, virginity testings……and you want to convince me that changing weaves and dancing in lingerie is feminism???





‘The House that Ntsiki built….’ that was the headline in 2003 to the first time I made it into mainstream media. My beadwork range, the House of Mobu has been an awe inspiring journey for me. Beadwork and Africans have a very strong spiritual connection. Our diviners and healers wear beads.


My journey with beadwork came out of the blue.

It was the year 2000, I was a 20yr old student living in Melville and would walk past the Bead Shop every day. At the time I was studying Marketing with the IMM. I had wanted to study art and drama after school but my family did not see it fitting, so Marketing was the more socially acceptable route I was to take.


In marketing classes as the lectures would give us examples of big brands in South Africa, I realised that all I needed was a PRODUCT.

It had never been a wish of mine to work for the big brands in the textbooks….the most valuable thing I got from that course was how to ‘market/sell’….and in class I would wonder what it was I would eventually market.


At the end of my 1st year, I finished my exams ahead of my friends and had time to kill.

I walked to the bead shop, bought some beads and headed home. Alcoholics always speak about their 1st drink.

Beadwork sucked me in that by the time my friends finished their exams, they came to visit and walked into a factory.

Then there was a frenzy as people around me started to buy my pieces.

Nobody asked any questions….I just started getting calls from family members and friends making orders.


Remember, I was still a student and I was conscious of needing to apply what was in the classroom into my newly found PRODUCT! That marketing course gave me tools to work with. I broke down the 4 Ps and would break what I learnt in class down and apply it to my beadwork.


It is through marketing that I learnt how to use celebrities to sell your product…..and boom…..I looked to the left, I had access to a celebrity. Lol.

My older sister fell in love with my beadwork from Day1 and was happy to be my ambassador.

She went on to win many fashion and style awards in my beadwork. Thandiswa’s famous beaded tops were an instant hit. I had found a platform to showcase my art and she didn’t mind looking dope.


The exposure to a wider audience grew my business as I suddenly started to service people nationally and internationally. My beadwork had turned into a fully fledged small business, with clients, customer service and cash flow issues.


At 22, I officially launched my beadwork fashion range. A beautiful and memorable event was held at the Horror Cafe. In true Ntsiki, out the box style, the models walked to a live band. I continued to do fashion shows over the years as my work was a popular favourite for local magazine fashion pages.


Our dominance in African fashion created a relationship between Hangwani and I….those were the early days of the now magnificent RUBICON. We worked together as clients often wanted her clothes to be accessorized by my beadwork.


It was when I did SA Fashion Week that I realised that I did not want to be part of the fickle fashion industry. It was run by white people who got their standards from Europe, and then would walk around feeling hoity toity. Being at Fashion Week did not resonate with my spirit and the reasons I did my beads.


I compare my first bead to the alcoholic’s first drink because it’s not a sober thing. It is an energy which expressed itself through my hands. It is a spiritual journey for me. It consumes me. Putting it into such a plastic environment was killing my spirit.


There was a year where I was asked to be the face of BEADEX, a beadwork exhibition. I would constantly get into trouble with the media assistant because in interviews I was quite vocal about Beadex being full of whites with black peoples work. I was vocal about the fact that beadwork is an African culture, so it was strange that there was no presence of Africans.


I am deeply connected to my beadwork and don’t want it to be bastardised.


I still handle private clients but I do not intend to make any sudden moves until our government makes it less easy for the Chinese to copy our ideas and sell them in masses. The intellectual property laws in this country need attention.


My beadwork has also led to employment creation. My two favourite stories are Sibongile and Keke.


Sibongile worked for me when I was 23 and I paid her a salary. She saved up her money and got herself a real job in her field as an engineer. She is now living her life like its golden in a beautiful house and her mini cooper. Before our experience she has been stuck in the hood, with no cents to make that phonecall. House of Mobu gave her those cents.


Keke story is more incredible. She worked for me when I was about 24/25. Unlike Sibongile…..it was her alcoholics first drink moment. When Keke had gathered up all the information she needed. One day she summed up the balls to ask me to help her set up her own beadwork business.

This could not have been an easy conversation for either of us…but we were both women about it.

I gave her my blessings and showed her how to set up her own range. We agreed on terms that suited us both.

Keke now runs a successful range called Dipo. She is making a killing and shining brightly.

What makes Keke so special to me is that not a 6months goes by without her sending me a text to say ‘thank you…..’


There was even a time I ended up shouting at her for thanking me all the damn time….hhahahhaaha I should thank her….for teaching me the power of humanity and sharing knowledge.

House of Mobu gave birth to others…..


The beauty of beadwork and the originality of the work speak for itself…..this is just the human story behind the ‘House That Ntsiki Built…’



In hindsight…being forced to do marketing is one of the biggest blessings of my life. The beadwork journey disturbed my studies for a few years. I did however graduate from the 4 year course ironically when I was being attacked for the rape campaign.

The sister who stood behind me at graduation commented…..’They are out there writing trash about you; and here you are graduating with a distinction.’


Last year I did a short entrepreneurship course at Wits Business School, I was awarded Most Innovative Student for my beadwork business.

Statement for Miss Dana Allegations

STATEMENT: 3 February 2016



We would like to take the time to inform you that the reports by the media, of alleged comments made by Miss Ntsiki Mazwai, on Miss Simphiwe Dana are FALSE.

Miss Dana responded to tweets which she assumed were about her.

The tweets did not have a name on them as a result Miss Mazwai has no idea how Miss Dana came to this conclusion.

We kindly ask Miss Dana and her media associates to stop fabricating stories about Miss Mazwai in news reports….with her name on the reports, this DOES constitute as defamation.

Miss Mazwai tweets to over 50 000 people daily and cannot be held responsible for how her tweets get interpreted. She is currently working towards a Master Degree and cannot be distracted by petty distractions.

Miss Mazwai wishes Miss Dana well on her endeavours.

Thank you for your cooperation

The Ntsiki Mazwai Team






My journey with poetry began soon after my mother died. It was an outlet I used to process the grief. My poetry is my healer and its journey has healed.


When I was young, I was in a predominantly English school. I stood out in 3 things…..


1. Creative Writing

2. Talent shows

3. Maths


The black child’s experience in a white school sets them back in that, even in areas where they show dominance, they are not necessarily celebrated. My English teachers did not verbalise my talent to me, but they did act in out. More often than not, I would be asked to read my creative writing in front of the class. I remember being 17 and thinking….’omg, why are you always making me read my work in front of the whole class?’ I found the spotlight of my writing a bit overwhelming.


Owing to the fact that my mere presence catalyses people, my high school experience was rough as girls often ganged up on me. I found my peace by reading poetry in the library during lunch breaks.


My university years saw me step into my poetry as I found a friend who also rapped. We would have word battles together. We would also attend many hip hop and open mic shows.


When I was 20yrs old I discovered an Open Mic session called Monday Blues. I had never done my poetry to a live audience before. My writing and lyricism had always just been for fun. The day I finally summed up the courage to recite my first poem at Monday blues…..I got a standing ovation.


I performed a poem called RISEN…..’This Voice I have been given…Nontsikelelo has risen.’


That is the night my poetry demon stood up and said ‘Ntsiki, this is who you are.’


From that moment, I occupied all the open mic sessions in Jozi and slowly started building my name. I hail from sessions like Word n Sound (Cool Running, Melville), House of Hemp sessions in town, Horror Cafe, Black Sunday, Stokvel series. These were the sessions which turned poetry into a popular culture in the mid 2000s. In that era, poetry sessions were packed and alive.

I used to get to sessions and KILL IT. Lol. I was a hot favourite. It was these ‘small’ bridges which made people start paying attention to me.


I got invited to a writer’s workshop in Port Elizabeth. When I got there I found it was inundated with men. I was one of 3 women there, Napo Masheane and Myesha Jenkins.

We had a chat at the conference and arranged to meet in Johannesburg and organise an ALL FEMALE poetry show.

When we got back to Johannesburg, we put out a call to all women writers we knew.

We really wanted it to work.

We set up a date for the women in poetry meeting to organise the show.

On the day of the meeting, only Lebo Mashile arrived.

And Feela Sistah Spoken word Collective was created.


People who saw the Feela sistah journey probably have goosebumps right now. What a magical moment we witnessed on the south African cultural landscape as 4 strong black women stood together to create a space for and about women.

Feel a sistah ran a wild and beautiful course. We catalysed poetry into the mainstream and inspired a more black conscious approach to entertainment.


You can’t have four bulls in a kraal.

Feela sistah lasted 3 beautiful years but our solo careers began to be more demanding and the group split up……not without drama though lol!

But what matters most is our contribution to poetry.


My journey with my poetry was also leading me to travel, tv and big stages. I was selected in south Africa’s first reality show to go to Uganda and New York and do my poems, for Scamto Groundbreakers.

I also got an invitation to perform at Thabo Mbeki Inaugural dinner alongside Don Mattera and other greats. It was a performance with 6 poets, and when I performed I took my moment. After the performance people kept texting bra Don Mattera ‘who was that girl in the orange?’

That is how I made my national debut.


I enjoyed my career as I got bookings and travelled to Belgium, Amsterdam, Jamaica, Kenya, Zimbabwe, Tanzania, Italy, Botswana, Swaziland and Germany. My poetry made me see the world.


In 2010 my first autobiographical anthology was published. I enjoyed a beautiful journey launching my book throughout the country. On google books it has a 5 star rating….something which makes me smile.


Around 2011, I started using my twitter account to work with my talent of word play. Since then, I have been regularly turning the country upside down with HOW I choose to say things. Apparently there is a deputy minister who said about me and my tweets…. ‘This girl has the ability to change the world in 140 characters.’


When I realised my tweets were stirring dialogue, I decided to create a blog.

My most popular blog had close to 500 000 hits, on average I get about 20 000 when I drop my blogs. My blog has proven to be popular, informative and one which encourages debate.


I have been using the internet to channel my poetic gift.


The latest development is my poetry getting me a full scholarship to do my MA degree in writing. Without an undergrad, somebody out there recognised that there is a lot of power in my writing. Somebody recognised that I contribute to the writing of the story of my generation….and my voice is important.

My Masters will probably take me 2yrs to complete, so I may seem quiet for a bit.


Some old lady just said to me….

‘Congratulations for getting into this course. It is a difficult department to get accepted into.’


I smile inside…..not only was I accepted, but they are paying me to do it. Lol.

Poetic Justice.



It has come to my attention that the poor journalism in this country has led you to believe that I do not have a body of work. Lol.

I am going to write 4 blogs to breakdown my talents and their journey….the beadwork, the poetry, the music and the artist development/sessions.

I think what is most shocking about me is the fact that I am talented at more than one thing and as a result, I confuse people.


Let me start by saying that, not only am I a creative being but I also have an entrepreneurial mind….which explains why my work is constantly mutating.

Below are all the sessions I have created in an effort to develop local talent by providing a space where artists can work on their craft. My own journey came from an open mic Platform, MONDAY BLUES…and from there I vowed to always create a platform for other artists


  2. This was my first open mic session I co-produced with Masello Modjadji Motana and Nonkululeko Godana. It was 2002 and I was 22. Being young and naive, I promoted this gig in mainstream media with my home address….lol. Being in the underground, I knew some amazing but unknown artist and I wanted the world to see them. My ALUTA CONTINUA SESSION was celebrating a new artist who had just gotten to joburg, Simphiwe Dana…. Before the fame…
  3. Although MONDAY BLUES is not my brainchild….but I also hosted underground artists for over 10 years since 2003. I did this gig for free. Because I am committed to artist development. These were predominantly based in Yeoville and many of our soul stars come from this stage. To name a few, Simphiwe Dana, MXO, Sliq Angel and most of the poets in my generation. Monday Blues was a melting pot of authentic African artists. It cooked many of the stars you see today.
  4. In 2005/6 I created the SISTALUTION…..these were sessions that focused on female talent.

I did the SISTALUTION with Kwane Experience and later with Black Rose out in Cape Town. The Sistalution was a session for female rappers and poets.


  1. Created by the Polit Buro Collective, SHIELA’S DAY SESSSIONS were hosted at the House of Nsako in 2007/8. This was an open mic platform on a Thursdays. A session which paid tribute to our mothers who worked in white kitchens. Shiela’s Day is where THE SOIL got groomed. Before there was 3, they used to be a big crew. Many other poets also used the Shiela’s Day platform.
  2. STREETPOP SESSIONSMost sessions before Streetpop had never paid attention to having a professional stage. With the boys, STREETPPOP industries created a professional stage for underground artists in Soweto and around. These sessions gave a homebase to a host of rappers from Siya Shezi, Deep Soweto and hosts of SA rappers. We held annual festivals in December at Mofolo Park giving alternative live bands a festival of their own.
  3. Though the boys handled the production side of StreetPop Session out in Soweto every last Sunday of the month, I was the strong woman who was the face and host. Streetpop sessions created a culture of Live Music and Hip Hop in Soweto from 2007-2010.
  4. In my early years I also hosted sessions with the Native Hut Foundation…these sessions gave rise to prokid, pitch black afro, roots 2000 and many poets. These were held in Diepkloof under the banner ‘ BLACK SUNDAYS.’ This was not my brainchild but I am very much a part of that movement, headed by Hempza, which turned hip hop into a lifestyle.
  5. Around 2010 I had sessions called THE PLATFORM which I held out in Melville. Sfiso of the Muffinz….before the Muffinz used to come and play there.
  6. These didn’t last very long but they gave rise to the MAMA SAID SESSIONS. The MAMA SAID SESSIONS are where I had refined my skill at hosting and producing these soulful developmental sessions. The MAMA SAID SESSIONS speak for themselves and when you google them you will realise the kind of magic you are working. Some of the Mama Said artists are your future stars….like Nazflo.
  7. I am now in Grahamstown for the year….I have wasted no time with my dream of creating platforms which develop local talent. I now produce and host SOUL SESSIONS WITH NTSIKI MAZWAI. I hope to create a platform for more stars.


I did not just get the name StreetQueen for nothing…..I got it from being one of the builders of the afro soul community. One of the artists who did more than just get on stage to perform….I am one of the artists that made bridges for other artists. They may have been small bridges…..but they were bridges.

I had to write you my history, so you know the history of your own artists….lest they forget where they come from.


Now you have one piece of my puzzle.