Malvern resident Thiza Mathe wants her music to teach people about the importance of heritage and culture.
Mathe recently released her first album titled Amabheka (referring to lobola). The album teaches people about the traditions of Zulu people.
Born in Magobe, KwaZulu-Natal, she started listening to Maskandi music at the age of 10.
“I grew up listening to Khansela Bhekumuzi Luthuli. I always had a dream of becoming a musician at a young age. I joined Juluka group when I was still very young.
“When they performed in rural areas I always joined them. Then the time came when they had to leave town. I wanted to leave with them but my family did not allow me to do so. I was left behind but did not give up on my dream,” she said.
At 22 Mathe left her rural village and relocated to Durban for better opportunities.
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“It’s not easy for one’s dreams to become a reality while in rural areas. There is a lack of materials and resources and most people in the rural areas don’t support local music. They support artists who are already known in the music industry,” she said.
Mathe worked with many artists before releasing her own album.
While in Durban, she joined iNtomb’emhlophe and Amawele groups where she sang and danced with them.
“I eventually relocated to Johannesburg, seeking more opportunities in the music industry. That is where I joined the Maskandi artist Khansela in 2000.
“I sang and danced for him until I joined JBC group. I also worked with Abafana baka Mahawukela, Izntombi zikaMahawukela and Amatshitshi Amhlophe.
“I really love music but no one trusted me enough to give me a microphone to sing. I also didn’t have a mentor which I think made it difficult for me, but I didn’t give up. I then released my solo demo album which didn’t do so well. There was a lack of support and I had no one to market me.
“I have now released Amabheka which I hope the community will support and buy my music. It took me three years to complete this album. I composed my own songs, I wrote the songs and sang, all by myself. I worked with local youth who backed me on stage. I decided to work with people from Denver and Malvern as I wanted to give them the opportunity to be in the music industry,” she said.
Amabheka consists of 10 tracks and all the tracks are in IsiZulu.
“It’s a mixture of love, lobola and life messages. The album caters to all age groups,” she said.