Tumi Makang had counted on her positivity and love for her music to compete and possibly win at the Sepedi Music Awards that were held on Sunday night at the University of Limpopo outside Polokwane.
The talented ‘Mamoratwa’ hit-maker is up for two nods – best Afro Pop for Momoratwa and Best Afro Soul for Ramasedi – at a ceremony to honour Sepedi musicians. It’s her first time being nominated for any awards and she could not hide her nerves.
“I have a positive feeling about the awards but in Sepedi they say ‘Di retwa di bo a mokatong’ [horses are praised after their race] although I’m a bit nervous as it’s my first time being nominated for any award in my music career,” Makang said.
Born Tumi Makang Mohlala at Ga-Mabintane in Nebo, Sekhukhune, Limpopo as the second of seven siblings, the songstress says she was not always keen in singing in Sepedi because she suffered from the notion that ‘Sepedi ga se opelege’ [It’s impossible to sing in Sepedi] and as a result her first two songs were in Isizulu because Zulu music sold more.
However, the 29-year-old finally saw the light after being introduced to Afro-pop sensation Judith Sephuma’s music who continues to make her music in Sepedi to date and comes up with what she calls Sepedi Afro Soul Music. Makang now sings in strictly Sepedi.
“I look up to Mama Judith Sephuma because as most people would say, “Sepedi ga se opelege” Mam’ Judith proved that it’s possible to do great music in Sepedi. Singing was just something I did daily from my primary years. I would sing at assembly and at church and on Sundays,” she said.
“I joined a tap and clap choir during the week so I sang almost every day of my life. Noticing that most afro jazz/soul/pop songs were done in either IsiZulu or isiXhosa, I saw a need for an additional Sepedi musician to continue what Mam’ Judith has started and the rest is history.”
The Human Resources Management graduate, who finished her diploma in 2013, said that milking music was not on her radar as she grew up.
“I didn’t actually choose music. I just sang around a lot then my Manager spotted me at an event at the college I studied at in Sekhukhune TVET College, and I recorded my first song which was in isiZulu and called Ncetani, which was about a crush,” the single mother of two gushed.
She has since discovered that music was her therapy and when she is not working as a Store Manager for one of the biggest electronics stores, she is writing and singing.
“Mostly when I’m sad music helps me heal because I’d just close myself indoors and write down what I feel at that moment and I get some sort of comfort from it and my family support,” she said.
Makang is in the recording studio at the moment cooking up her debut album.
“I’m currently working on launching my album which people have been waiting for it for a while now, and my favourite songs there are ‘Lerato Mmino,’ which expresses my love for music because I can direct my every feeling with it,” she boasted.