SA's Nonzwakazi to perform to millions at Eurovision Song Contest

15 May 2019 - 11:07 By Zola Zingithwa
Nonzwakazi won the 2019 AfriMusic Song Contest with her original song, 'Phakama Mbokodo'.
Nonzwakazi won the 2019 AfriMusic Song Contest with her original song, 'Phakama Mbokodo'.
Image: Supplied

SA songstress Nonzwakazi  is ready to wow the world as she makes her international debut at the Eurovision Song Contest in Tel Aviv, Israel, on May 18.

The planet’s largest music competition, this four-day event will be broadcast to an audience of hundreds of millions worldwide.

This prestigious gig is part of Nonzwakazi’s prize for winning the 2019 AfriMusic Song Contest, a competition which gives songwriters from across Africa the chance to show off their unique talents.

Despite feeling a bit overwhelmed about performing in front of a massive global audience, Nonzwakazi is ready to fly the SA flag high at Eurovision. She tells us more.

What are you looking forward to the most about travelling to Tel Aviv?

I’m looking forward to representing Africa for what the continent is truly is. I think the most important thing is to make sure that the minute I get on the Eurovision stage, everyone can just tell that “Wow, Africa is really beautiful”.

Are you more nervous or excited about performing on the Eurovision stage?

I don’t want to lie, I’m more nervous. Sometimes I think about it and then I just start sweating.

You won the 2019 AfriMusic Song Contest with your original song, Phakama Mbokodo (Rise Woman), which you’ll be singing on the Eurovision stage. Tell us about the inspiration behind this song.

I wanted to write a song that was going to be a motivational song for women from different backgrounds. So a woman who is a CEO can relate to the song [as well as] a mom who is trying hard to make ends meet for her family.

LISTEN | Nonzwakazi's track 'Phakama Mbokodo'

[I was inspired] by so many things that women are doing nowadays. Women are vocal, women are occupying big positions, they know their rights — all of those things motivated me to write this song.

I wanted to make sure that the song I wrote praises women and at the same time continues to motivate them, knowing that they are the ones who are responsible for peace in this world.

Are you performing any other songs at Eurovision?

I’m going to perform a song that I haven’t released yet — In A Heartbeat —  which will formally be released in August. I’m also going to perform my song titled You Don’t Deserve Me.

How do you think this opportunity is going to impact your career in the long run?

This opportunity has [already] started changing my life; more and more people want to interact with my brand, and more and more people want to work with me.

The one thing that is at the centre of my heart is that I want to uplift other upcoming artists. [I want to] motivate them that “you know what? If you want your work to be recognised internationally, do not forget your roots. Do not forget that you need to release something that is of quality so that you also get comments and feedback that [are] of quality”.

I trust that the set that I prepared is going to be very inviting considering the fact that my music is very African and the international audience loves, they truly love African music. So after performing there I’m determined that people are going to want to know more about me, where I come from and what it is that I have [done] to occupy such a big stage. And I’m definitely looking forward to a collaboration or two.

What do you hope to achieve with your music career?

My biggest dream is to represent SA, not in SA. I want to be a global star. [I want] to spread the word about the beauty of SA through my music. AfriMusic has just paved the way for me. So I’m looking forward to continuing my journey through that.