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10 Minutes With 19 Year Old Hip Hop Artist Wandile Dlamini AKA Dee Wyz

During the Red Bull Kas’lami event in Artizen I got to chit chat with 19 year old Ntshongweni based Hip Hop artist Wandile Dlamini who goes by the name ‘Dee Wyz’. He’s a Varsity College student who loves being on stage and writing music. I hope you enjoy reading this Q&A as much as I did chatting to him.
Why Music?
Music is art, it’s a way of expressing yourself and communicating universally with listeners and people you’ve never met. I’ve always believed that everyone has a purpose on Earth and a God-given talent,mine is music, Music is my passion it’s how I deal with stress, life situations and emotional conflict. I fell in love with music at a very young age through listening to the likes of Eminem, 50 Cent, Dr Dre, The Game and Snoop Dogg to name a few. Although i couldn’t understand half of what they were saying back then, when I listen to those songs again 9 years later now it makes perfect sense and I relate to some of the stories they shared.
Let’s talk about your style of lyrics;
Deep, introspective, educational thought-provoking and emotional. I take a lot of time to think about what i put in my lyrics,the type of impact it will have, the kind of vibe I intend to push out,the different stories I tell and my responsibility to actually know what I’m talking about. My lyrics literally take you on an emotional rollercoaster ride because of my emphasis on detail and getting a message across.
At what age did you begin doing music?
I made my first song when I was 13 called “Bullet in my Brain”, I remember the chorus for it even till this day it’s always going to be stuck in my head because of the excitement I had of having a song you know. My friends laughed at me so hard when I played it for them the first time probably because my lyrics had no substance at that time. After that I dropped like 5 songs in the space of 2 months to stay consistent as my hunger to be heard kept growing and my momentum was building up. At 14 I recorded a mixtape called “NewBorn” produced by ShoutoutBeats who I still work with today.The buzz it garnered in my hood gave me so much to motivation to strive for my passion and to make it possible to reach your dreams no matter where you’re from. Unbelievablely I still have that CD mixtape at home and listen to it now and then to feel inspired.

Why hip-hop?
Hip-Hop has always been a part of my life. It hasn’t only affected me but also my family. My 2 uncles sag their pants whenever they wear jeans and rap their favourite lyrics from 2Pac and Biggie when they’re roaming in the streets or whenever they are amongst their friends. So I grew up off that it’s in my veins it’s been in my background ever since. I didn’t choose Hip-Hop, Hip-Hop chose me.It’s a culture we live in our own society where you be all you can be.
Who did you work with on your current single?
I worked with Chauffered Dream my record label and my main producer ShoutoutBeats who is under Loyalty Unlimited. He made the beat for what was to become my debut single known as “Stay Woke” and my breakout single dually. He’s only 20 years old from my hood so we’re just black inspired kids trying to become something positive out of life. Nothing less, nothing more.
How much time do you spend in studio?
I’m in the studio every weekend I’m currently working on an E.P so I try to spend as much time as I can there no doubt.My studio is in Mgababa, I live in a place near Hammersdale called Ntshongweni so it has to be worth the trip everytime i go to the studio.
Who’s the current hit on the Durban Hip Hop scene?
Nasty C definitely. He’s putting the time and effort in his craft and the outcome is incredible. His mixtape “Price City” is one of my favourite projects to ever be released by an artist from Durban so props to him he’s doing his thing.
Favourite female artist?
It has to be Rouge for me. That girl raps hard,and switches flows like it’s nobody’s business. She’s the true definition of a Female Mc I love her music and respect who she is and what she stands for.
Your playlist right now?
I got that 6Lack album “FreeLac”,Bryson Tiller’s new album “True To Self”, Kendrick Lamar and lastly J.Cole. That’s about it for me right now I vibe around heavily to these musicians work especially their albums.

Talking Music With Nkululeko Fusase AKA De Cante

Hailing all the way from Empangeni, Nkululeko Fusase who prefers to be called ‘De Cante’ when he’s making people dance is a music DJ who’s began doing what he loves when he was still doing Grade 6 and then went on to make his very 1st beat at Grade 8. During his music career, he has worked with a number of artists including The Legendary DJ Sbu and popular ‘Sengizwile’ hit maker, Shota. De Cante is also a Digital Music Composition & Production Graduate. Enjoy reading my Q&A with him below:
Why music?

Amongst other career options I had for my future I chose music because this is the only career path I understand better than any other out there. To me it is not just ordinary music that everybody listens or adores, but for me it is something I love and live for. No other thing makes me feel better when I’m down, stressed nor hurt but music gets to me somehow and turns the situation around to better.

Why go for Dance Music in particular?

I have always been that kind of person that is into dance music although I can’t dance, for me house music is easy to understand and listen to at the same time enjoying its rhythm. This is the kind of music that never gets old even after 2 or 5 years, the feel of it remains the same. And this is where I get to exercise my producing skills fully and not get limited along the way.

Click here to download ‘chasing my dreams’ by De Cante.

Would you say your childhood influenced your love for music?

Yes it did, because there was a time in my village where deejaying became a fashion and it was like if you don’t know how to you’re slow or boring. This is where I developed so much love and passion for house music, even within the schemes we formed at the time I always got good feedback on how I play and take control on the decks, so that alone gave me courage to take things further with house music.

Which other music genres would you like to tap into in the near future?

I would have to go with Jazz and Hip hop because those genres I already have a lil understanding of it and also like its sounds and elements.

What do you think makes African House Music different?

House Music never loose its place in the industry it is always there no matter which genre blows at that time. It always hits the mark and it is unreplaceable in any way.

What has being an artist taught you so far?

I have to always go an extra mile on my work so I do better, always have to introduce new and unique ideas upon my work. A challenge of coming up with different sounds each time I’m in studio is one thing that always teaches me something new. And last more thing, respect and love to people who support you is also way too important.

Who is your African music Icon?

I look up to Black Coffee, the way the guy handles his career whilst people get worked up by fame and money but he’s always on his lane. He inspires me to do so too, his career keeps on levitating, never stops hustling, this is what I want for my music career.

Best African female artist you’d love to colllaborate with?

Lady Zamar, because I find her amazingly talented and she can fit quit well to my sound of music.

Why do you think it is important for artists to support and collaborate with one another?

This is one thing some others don’t notice but this is really important cause if you collaborate with an artist it’s not about just working together but it’s about admiring and respecting each other’s work. And it helps to get new audience for your music cause his/her fans will get to know you and maybe fall in love with you and your music, so for me this is important.

Why do you think it is important that as South Africans we don’t get too inspired by American Music & then end up losing our touch in the end?

Because this might make us as South Africans look like we copy their sounds and if it’s like that nothing makes us different nor special, this is something that we have to be aware of and keep it 100% with our South African sounds.

In one word.. Describe a proud South African..

Authentic.


Get To Know The Mrs South Africa Semi-Finalist Representing KZN, Ziphelele Ndokweni

I recently sat down with the inspiring Ziphelele Ndokweni who’s representing my province, Kwa-Zulu Natal in the Mrs South Africa pageant. Being a proud KZN citizen I must say that Ziphelele is who I’m rooting for, I really hope that she goes far. Read below to get a little bit more, there’s so much learn.

Tell me a little bit more about yourself;

I was born and bred in KwaZulu-Natal, home is KwaNyuswa – a rural area just outside Hillcrest also known as the Valley of a 1000 Hills. I’m the last born of the Radebe family. I’m married to my high school sweetheart, and we have two amazing children.

I matriculated from St Benedicts School in Pinetown that was formerly known as Pinetown Convent. I really enjoyed my school, it was like my second family as I was there from Class 1 which is now Grade 1 to Grade 12. I was athletic, my nick name was not only Zippy because Ziphelele was not easy to pronounce but I was very fast on the track having won numerous medals for 100 metre sprints and relays. I was SRC head and a prefect, and I was above average when it came to my school work, so I was pretty well rounded. I graduated with my IMM – Marketing Management Diploma that I studied part time whilst working. My working career started off with Peace Players International, then with East Coast Radio where my radio foundation was built. I was with them for 3 years. I then went on to work at Immedia and the Success on Hold Group before moving to Gagasi FM where I really developed in my career and as a person. I achieved a great deal there, I held two managerial positions, Marketing Manager and then Head of Creative and Promotions. When you are a manager, it comes with tremendous responsibility and you need a thick skin, so I developed that. I gained a lot of understanding about how brands can connect with listeners, their consumers in a way that resonates with them and I merged that with my creativity which made me successful in my role as Head of Creative and Promotion. I must admit, the best part of my role as Marketing Manager was being out in the community making a difference big or small, it ignited my spirit every time. Also working with a great group of people was a bonus. As of January this year, I am based in Johannesburg working with Mediamark as a Creative Executive. I absolutely love using my imagination to come up with creative ideas to give brands solutions. I also get to learn so much from the other creatives I work with.

Let’s talk about Mrs South Africa;

Mrs South Africa (Pty) Ltd is the number one pageant for married women in South Africa and is seen as a women empowerment program and not a beauty pageant, in the traditional sense of the word.

Beauty pageants are not typically thought of as particularly real or relatable. The gorgeous gowns, the tiaras, the immaculate hair and beauty, and the perfect and polished contestants: all wonderful to watch, yes, but not attainable in real life.

But Mrs South Africa is not the typical beauty pageant. It offers married South African women who have real-life careers, families, and hobbies the chance to compete for the prestigious title of Mrs South Africa. Glamour and sophistication are part of the criteria, but the women who enter and win all have those relatable stories we’re looking for. We all know a Mrs South Africa: she is smart and ambitious, and cares about her family and community.

The Mrs South Africa pageant is about giving South Africa’s unsung superwomen a chance to get support and give input, and a platform to reach a new level of success and visibility on a global stage. It is truly a life changing journey for the women who enter this renowned Woman Empowerment Program

Is this your first pageant, ever?

Yes, I’m a tom boy. I grew up climbing trees, riding my bicycle and baking mud cakes. I’ve always kept my nails short and didn’t wear much make-up. I was very athletic at school and just wasn’t pageant inclined but I clean up good. So I’ve learnt a lot, I had my second set of acrylic nails in my life for the Mrs South Africa Semi-Finalists workshop. Mrs South Africa in essence is a women empowerment program, and just from the two day workshop my work colleagues and family can tell you about the positive changes I’d made towards a better me.

What inspired you to enter? 

It definitely wasn’t about my height or size. I’m a size 34, 1.68 metres, I am beautiful but I come from a family of five girls, I know that there are smarter, more beautiful women than I but I have my own magic and queendom that makes me awesome, as Jill Scott put it.

I entered because I wanted to challenge myself, I was in a comfortable space. I wanted to do something for me that would empower me and others. I wanted to share my story, inspire other mothers, young women, girls and my daughter that they had all they needed to be remarkable. When people see what you have achieved they don’t know the challenges you faced along the way, it’s so important for young people to know that they will face many things in different stages of their lives however they are not alone nor should feel less than. I wanted to instil in them that they are more than enough for the various roles they play, being a mom, wife, receptionist or student, whatever it is.

I do some work with Hospice in Sherwood, and when I did an outreach with them when I was still working in the Marketing department at Gagasi FM I was drawn to the work they do, not only to provide dignity and support for the terminally ill and their families but the work they do within communities from providing health support to families that have members suffering from HIV, TB and other diseases to providing food for those that receive NO income, that means no grant NOTHING. Tell me then, what do those children eat if you need at least R15 to buy just a loaf of bread? I entered because I want to use the platform to highlight the work they do and garner more support and funding for them.

I also have other projects I want to work on like my #MoreThanEnough campaign aimed at empowering young girls and women. It was inspired by my name, Ziphelele which means complete or enough. I want to drive the message that everyone is ‘more than enough’ and worthy of love, friendship, the work they do. It starts at a young age, young girls don’t know they value, don’t know they bodies are precious and that they too can achieve anything they set their minds to. Women tend to do things to please others and at times feel like they do not measure up. This was my personal journey, I use to push myself in the work environment and at home, to be better than the next person. I want to inspire young girls to dream and keep their dreams alive, even when they face social challenges they need to strive towards their dreams and not get side tracked by what people say or do.

My big hairy audacious goal is to build a wellness centre for the mentally challenged in a rural area, I’ve a place in mind. It’s close to my heart as I’ve family that battled with access to treatment and dealt with the stigma and shame around it especially in black communities. Why not?

How has your journey been? did you anticipate to make it this far? 

As mentioned above I’m not your typical glamorous female, but I know that I am beautiful, intelligent with a passion to help others, and a vision to shift thinking and ignite change within people and communities. I entered with the vision to be in the Top 3. I am working with great sponsors, Satiskin, Lavish Nails Spa in Durban, Foschini SA, Phemelo Molefe and Nompumelelo Mkhize. They have added so much value into my journey and I’ve appreciated them sharing my vision.

You’re the KZN representative, what does this mean to you and KZN? 

There are other ladies from KZN, I think there are 4 or 5 of us. One of my hashtags for the campaign is #ProudlyZKN. My roots are in KZN, the woman I am today is a reflection of the people and places in KZN. I’m so proud to be from KZN, we have the best weather, trust me the thunder storms in Johannesburg will have you appreciating Durban weather. The people, are open and friendly. My husband and I have travelled extensively throughout KZN, we know the tourist hot spots and they are great but there are hidden gems that we’ve discovered in our backyard and that makes KZN special. I’m loyal to the soil, KZN is my soil it’s nurtured me and it’s always key to know where you come from to stay in the right path towards your destiny.

How will you make KZN proud? 

You know, there are a many women from KZN doing great things from the likes of Minnie Dlamini to the current Mrs South Africa – Hlengiwe Twala who is also a KZN girl. There must be something in the water. My focus in terms of the work I want to do is in KZN. I want to continue working with Hospice and the communities they service like eMlazi, Mayville informal settlemen, Chesterville and others. I want to continue the work I started with doing talks with young girls and providing them with not only sanitary towels but create a platform to openly discuss sexual issues and health, hygiene, social ills they face, career choices – there is so much out there but some students are still not exposed due to lack of access to information and other issues. Basically I want to not only be an ear, but impart guidance from my own experience as well as information that will help them. For instance if they are faced with a problem at home, I want to be able to provide them with information or people that can help and be the link. I want to try and help eliminate as many barriers or obstacles in their way.

What keeps you going as an individual? 

I’m inspired by being better. I’m a Christian and I’m really inspired by the fact that God created which means I’m to create… create a better life for myself and others. I’m inspired by TED Talks, I watch a lot of TED Talks. I’m inspired by women like Leymah Gbowee – Liberian Peace Activist, who fights for the vulnerable and Maysoon Zayid – Comedian with cerebral palsy, who was determined to succeed despite her disability. I’m inspired by fellow women from KZN like authors Phindile Grootboom and Nobuntu Webster and business women Lynette Ntuli and Akhona Ngcobo, my sister Thokozani Majola, my mentor Cheryl Wheelerand and just people around me that are driven and resilient. My family is a huge inspiration, they drive me each day to tackle each day and give it my all.

What has this competition taught you? It’s taught me that out of the 100 girls, I have my own magic that thing that the next women doesn’t have that makes me, special, worthy, of value and awesome. It’s taught me to appreciate my family so much more because they have been so supportive and understanding about this journey. It’s also taught me to work even harder to achieve what I want and not to be afraid to knock on doors.

Why do you think you’ve got what it takes to be the next Mrs. South Africa?

I’ve grown to know and appreciate who I am, my magic. I’m resilient, hardworking and passionate about people, my province and South Africa. I’m a dreamer and want to inspire others to dream and know that they are their own limitations, nothing is impossible.

Why should South Africa choose to vote for you other than the rest of the candidates?

I think all the candidates are wonderful all with commendable initiatives and the spirit to make a positive impact and difference. I know that if I win I will strive to raise support and awareness for organisations that are already working in helping people.

How do you overcome challenges life throws at you? 

I pray, I seek guidance from those that have travelled the road, for instance my sister or parents. I look at the positive and focus my energies on helping someone else so I remove the focus from myself. I also bake when I’m stressed and write down my thoughts and feelings, it helps to process things and approach matters rationally instead of emotionally.

Words of advice to women who look up to you;

I’m getting use to the idea that there are women who look up to me and so humbled by it. My advice is be genuinely you. We’ve all been created unique with a purpose, with something special and if you don’t tap into it, hide and try to be someone else or play small you’ll rob the world of something. Hence my campaign #morethanenough, we all possess what we need to do what we’ve been placed on earth to do. Don’t seek others validation. You are worthy and you are more than enough.

Who is Ziphelele at home?

Ziphelele at home is teacher, doctor, friend and helper. I’m chilled, I tend to spend my time reading with the kids, doing some DYI, watching movies with my husband, cooking and baking if I’m really stressed. I enjoy being outdoors, I love watching rugby live and visiting animal farms or going on hikes. Ziphelele, laughs a lot, she takes things lightly, she loves to create.

How did you and your husband meet?

We met at The Wheel, when it was still one of the places to chill in Durban. There was no Gateway back then. Yo, feel old. Anyway, I was out with my sister and he was with his friends. As I was going up the escalators he was at the top and our eyes locked. It was like the scene from the movie Cruel Intentions. As they say, the rest his history. We’ve been together for about 17 years, and it’s been a trip. He is my life partner, he is supportive, challenges my thinking, charming, romantic with great legs, driven and resilient. I love that he is madly in love with his family, he prayed for us before we even met, that’s special.

Tell me about your kids;

Qhawe and Zaria, I love them and God was just showing off when he made them. They are beautiful inside out. Qhawe is my little hero, he’s name says it. He’s a sensitive soul that really cares about others and their well-being, he’s also very charming like his dad. Right now he’s 9 years only and doing Grade 4. He’s at an age where he’s not mommies little boy anymore but he’s also not a teenage so he’s trying to figure himself and I’m just giving him his space with the hug and kiss there to reassure him. Zaria, my daughter her name has many meanings from blossom, princess, sunrise. She’s super confident, she loves to sing and acting. I love her sense of humour but she’s also a little moody you don’t want to mess with her, she doesn’t care if you are a girl older than her or a boy she doesn’t put up with nonsense.

What is it that you enjoy most about being a mother?

The unconditional love, both ways. I also like what I’ve gained in terms of understating not only my mother better but my father. The sacrifices they made because they loved me, as a child I didn’t understand so I appreciate them so much more. Motherhood challenges you and it makes you realize that you are stronger than you think but also humbles you because you learn not to rely on your on strength but on God.

In order for me to progress to the next stage (Top 25) I need everyone’s support. You can support by voting, SMS ‘Ziphelele Ndokweni’ to 35959 at cost of R3/sms – free sms’es do not apply. You can vote as many times as you like. You can follow me on Facebook and Instagram – Ziphelele Ndokweni and Twitter – @Zippyndokweni… And like my page – Ziphelele Ndokweni Mrs South Africa Semi-Finalist”


Profile Feature: Yonela Shenxane

Yonela Shenxane is a 22 year old lady who is currently signed to two of South Africa’s best modelling agencies, her mother agency being BOSS Models in Johannesburg and the other being ICE Models in Cape Town.

Her love for the world of entertainment started in 2013 when she walked onto the music video set for Gusheshe, a song by South African Hip Hop recording artist Cassper Nyovest.  The set was produced by Nicky Campos which is a music video and film production company based in Johannesburg.  She had been on the set to accompany an industry friend and when Nicky asked her to do a simple scene feature, she reluctantly went for it.

A month after the insignificant scene feature on Cassper’s music video, Yonela was offered the opportunity to work with Nicky again but now she would be appearing as a main character on Shota’s (born Mnqobi Mdabe) music video for a song titled Ben10.  Shota is a South African singer, producer and songwriter.  The music video served as her very first TV appearance.  

She then began to realise her love for the small screen and wanted to pursue a career in the entertainment industry.  Yonela then realised that she needed to get signed to a reputable agency that represented talent and commercial models, because in that way she could grow more in the industry.

Her modelling career kicked off in 2014 when she got signed with Alushi Models, after being turned down by several agencies including BOSS Models.

Yonela further explored the industry later that year, by being selected to appear as a character on a reality TV show called Take Me Out SA, which aired on SABC1 and was hosted by Phat Joe. The show had one season and Yonela received very good feedback which made her certain that being on TV is what she wanted to do.  With 4 years of dramatic arts behind her, she knew that she was already equipped with the basic understanding of the entertainment industry and audience engagement.

Take Me Out SA was another confirmation that the entertainment industry was where Yonela wanted to be as she now had a new found confidence.  She tried to get signed again with the well-established agency, BOSS Models which she had always considered as her dream agency.  Yonela sent an e-mail to BOSS Models (Cape Town) and they forwarded her pictures to BOSS Models Johannesburg which is the agency that rejected her a year ago.  Amazingly enough, she was called in for a meeting in May 2015 and was then signed.  A month later Yonela was already on set for her first job with a team that she had always idealised which is the Sunday Times team.  Her first job was an editorial edition.

Since being signed to BOSS Models, Yonela has worked on a lot of beauty/fashion editorials. She featured on TV commercials for CELL C, worked on campaigns such as the ’15 spring/summer PQ clothing campaign, Parooz Fashion spring/summer campaign & online store debut.  After the social media feedback on the Parooz Fashion campaign, Yonela announced that she would be the first brand ambassador for the young, fun and exciting fashion brand.

Yonela ended 2015 with an editorial feature in the New Year issue of well renowned magazine, True Love.  She then planned to go live in Cape Town so that she could build her profile there and by the grace of God she moved to Cape Town in January for model season.  Model season in Cape Town is every models dream because that’s where models get the opportunity work with professionals from all over the world. Cape Town is where you get models from Germany, America, Angola, Jamaica and other countries all at once trying their luck at doing what they love.  

Working in Cape Town opened a lot of doors for Yonela as she got to work on amazing campaigns and also given the opportunity to be a brand ambassador for Vada By Sivada which is a Cape Town brand as well as Beach Cult.  She was amongst the models that launched Joaquina Beachwear which is an AfroBrasilian bikini brand also based in Cape Town.  Yonela has also been a Zando online model and has shot a catalogue for Angel Africa.  

With model season being over she has returned back to Johannesburg which is where she will now be based.  She doesn’t believe in restricting herself so she now wants to venture into the film industry so she call tell and act out stories.  She has recently shot an advert for Nedbank and also features in a takealot.com advert which also serves as one of her career highlights.

The world still has a lot in store for Yonela and being the hard worker that she is, a lot is yet to be accomplished.  She wants to leave a mark, not only as a model but as an actress, socialite, brand influencer and a public figure.  


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