The Queen of AbeNguni takes African culture to the West

The Chronicle

Yvonne Ncube, Showbiz Correspondent
His distinct musical style stems from his grandfather’s work as an inyanga (traditional healer).

She sang with the whole family when they gathered for ceremonies and celebrations.

Drawing inspiration from the St Johns Apostolic Faith Mission where she led the choir from an early age, Busi Mhlanga is today one of the most celebrated traditional singers who have gone to great lengths to preserve African culture even in the Western countries where Western culture reigns supreme. .

The UK-based singer’s dressing tells her story before she opened her mouth, earning her the title of Queen of AbeNguni.

Her passion for dance and music has captivated many and she is regularly requested for events such as wedding ceremonies in the United Kingdom.

Perfect movements, impeccable expressions and an angelic voice are what she presents to her audience.

Speaking to Saturday Leisure from his base in the UK, Busi said his exceptional energy was evoked by his love for music.

“I sing, I dance, I applaud, I beat my heart. Music brings joy to my heart and I like to share that joy.

My inspiration came from St Johns Apostolic Faith Mission where I led the choir at a very young age,” she said.

The multi-talented entertainer said she was guided by the adage “I am because of my circle”, which she believes is the best way to success in life.

“I always say ‘I am because of my circles’ so my music, my clothes and my dancing are inspired by all the circles I belong to.

The first circle is the Mhlanga and Takobana family in which I was born, then the other circles are the community as a whole, the church, the schools I attended, my friends, the country, the African continent from where I come and the world as a whole. I travel.

“Some of the songs come to me in a dream, some are songs I grew up singing in church and some are traditional songs we sang as a family at gatherings and celebrations. I frequented.

“My grandfather was a traditional healer, so he held spiritual gatherings, even though I was young, those songs, the drums, the clapping and the dancing never fade from my memory and my soul.

It’s part of me and I carry it with me,” Busi said.

The Queen of AbeNguni said her songs are inspired by things that happen in communities and those that affect people.

“The songs from the weddings we attended in family and community still resonate in my heart and I sing and perform them. I also sing about what is happening around me. During the xenophobic attacks in South Africa in 2015, I wrote a song about it.

I sing about my homeland, Africa,” she said.
Busi once took to Facebook to respond to allegations that she was overdoing her traditional attire.

“Some people said I overdressed but I told them that’s how I want to dress, it’s in me, I like it and no one can change that.

Idlozi lami ngelokugqiza ngakho ngigqiza ngingagqize qhakala.

Funny enough, some have started to follow suit and that’s good. For me, it’s something I feel comfortable with, especially when playing. It brings out something that I really can’t explain.

“My mother tried to convince me not to wear my traditional outfits and pearls, but never succeeded.

She has now learned to accept me a little or rather she has just chosen to let me be who I am.

My late father was my biggest supporter, albeit after realizing he couldn’t fight what he eventually called “the gift of the spirit” in me.

I have a video of him saying that,” Busi said with a laugh.

She said her music has received great appreciation even though she is in a foreign country.

“I perform my traditional African music, my contemporary African music and deliver the path that the spirit leads. I work hard and try to be consistent.

The uniqueness of our African music attracts people from other cultures. People are interested in the way we sing, dance and dress.

Our music is different, powerful, influential and melodic.

“My professional career as a performing artist began in 1992 as the lead singer for Bulawayo’s first female troupe, Umhlathuzi, which was under the mentorship of Black Umfolosi.

Prior to that, I had always sung in school choirs, church choirs, and community gatherings. My elders told me that I started talking and singing at six months.

I wish there were cell phones back then to capture that, so I would believe him,” Busi said.

She said that in 1995 she was the lead singer of Albert Nyathi and Imbongi Arts Productions where she learned a lot.

In 1996, Busi said, she was chosen to travel to Denmark to represent young female artists from Southern Africa where she met other female artists from different countries.

“In 1998 I was also chosen to be the lead character in a documentary produced and directed by a Danish company and zim,” Busi recounted.

“In 2000 I left Imbongi to pursue a solo career in Denmark, eventually settling in the UK where I pursued my career in music and the performing arts.

Over the years I have performed at various festivals in Europe and Africa,” Busi said.

“I have shared the stage with various well-known artists including the late Hugh Masekela and Oliver Mtukudzi at Wembley Arena in London.

I also shared a stage with Zahara, Nomcebo Zikode, Femi Kuti, Twoface Idibia and Winky D.

Others I have shared a stage with are Mahotela Queens, Freshly Ground, Busi Ncube, Rebeca Malope, Tom Jones, London African Gospel Choir, South African Cultural Talents and many more.

Busi said she has also appeared on UK TV channels such as BBC ONE Show, BBC 3’s Don’t Tell The Bride and Channel 4’s Sunday Brunch.

“I also sang in the House of Commons in the UK at Nelson Mandela’s funeral in 2015.

I was featured in one of the music videos for one of the great British artists STORMZY called Blinded by Your Grace,” Busi said.

She said she has won more than 15 awards, both locally and internationally.

His latest single Gqi Gqi Gqi’ swept the streets of Bulawayo last year.

Busi continued to inspire many with his strong devotion to culture and his energy on stage.

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