Zameka: Growing up in a shebeen shaped me & my music

13 September 2018 - 06:00 By Kyle Zeeman
Zameka Nkumanda says she grew up exposed to different kinds of music.
Zameka Nkumanda says she grew up exposed to different kinds of music.
Image: Instagram/ Zameka Nkumanda

Singer Zameka is making waves in the music industry and has scored a series of collabs with some of the biggest names in the game from DJ Tira to Prince Kaybee. And to think that it all started with the sound system in a tavern.  

The Kiki Riki hitmaker has been making music since she was 12 years old and told TshisaLIVE that her music was shaped by her parent's decision to open a shebeen when she was young.

"When I was around seven or eight my dad lost his job and he was forced to open a business. He didn't have much capital so he opened a shebeen. It changed our lives completely. It changed the environment completely. It shaped me. Suddenly there was always music around. It was always loud. It was a real change."

Zameka said that instead of falling into the temptations of alcohol and that #TurntLife, she used her circumstances to learn about music.

"It was a positive because of my love for music. There was always music playing and you can image that all types of people were playing all kinds of music. It extended my knowledge of music. As much as it was a challenge, I turned it into a positive."

Zameka said she always loved singing but had to put her dreams on the back burner while she was at school because her parents were not convinced it was more than a hobby.

"I guess this is a career I grew to discover. My parents always felt it was a hobby rather than a career. So they would always tell me to stick to my studies. I studied marketing at UNISA and tried music at the same time. When I was done with my qualification, I showed my parents what I had achieved and then threw myself into music full-time." 

She rose to fame as the voice behind Prince Kaybee's hit Story Teller on the DJ's debut album.

"Prince Kaybee taught me to persist and have courage to follow your dreams. Don't look down on yourself because you are not known in that moment. If there is an opportunity to chase your dreams, take it."