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SA artist using poetry to create awareness about Covid-19

By HRH Stella Sigcau

1 June 2020

Jessica Mbangeni’s enthusiastic roar behind the microphone is symbolic of her prowess, tenacity and never-say-die attitude. The poet has risen to the top of the ladder in South Africa and has become a face of oral tradition and traditional fashion.

She has become cultural Ambassador, flying SA flag high performing in various countries including the US, Scotland, India to mention a few.

She represented South Africa during the Bob Marley celebrations earlier this year in Jamaica where she is a household name, a place she calls spiritual home.  She is not shy about her roots in the African continent.

She is currently using the gift of poetry to create awareness about Covid-19 through what she calls XA initiative which started during lockdown. In Xhosa language she explains, means a point of realisation.  Her poetry which she shares with millions of South Africans through various forms of media gives hope and educates about this virus.

Jessica  Mbangeni believes that artists should play a meaningful role in fighting Covid-19 in the forefront bringing the skills as the ambassadors of hope. In her own words, “only if we can come together as a collective of different voices and listen to each other routing to conquer this war, we will be sound and ready for the new world to come."

She informs that she has recently worked on the African Union Covid-19 awareness campaign for the Africa month. She also relayed solidarity poetry during the meeting on Covid-19 between the Vietnamese  Embassy and Mbizana Municipality where the Embassy donated some hygienic products to assist the Municipality in its efforts to contain the virus. She has used various media platforms to create awareness, latest being Umhlobo Wenene FM.

Mbangeni who hails from the Eastern Cape made her mark as a praise-singer when she joined multi-Grammy award winning Soweto Gospel Choir in 2002 and toured Germany, Australia, New Zealand, Scotland and 37 cities in the United States of America. She has performed at prestigious events such as the 46664 concert in Cape Town and the second inauguration of South African President Thabo Mbeki.
She has won awards and earned several nominations.

Some of her accolades are:
•    Imbokodo Award for Indigenous language preservation.
•    South African Traditional Music Achievement Awards for Best Female Album and Best isiXhosa Album.
•    SATMA Award Best Song of the Year 2016.
•    Winner of the Eastern Cape Excellence Achiever's Award in 2014 and 2016.
•    In 2014 she was nominated for 7 categories in the SATMA Awards and nominated for Best Creative Album by the Wawela Awards in 2015.
•    Queen Majali Award 2020 for poetry.

Through the Jessica Mbangeni Foundation, she informs that donations of reusable masks from her Kwantu Entertainment Designs were made to street children and people who could not affording to buy them as well as blankets and food to families that are affected by the lockdown in the spirit of Ubuntu. She will be making donations during June month also in her hometown Ngqamakhwe in the Eastern Cape.
Mbangeni is determined to use poetry to create awareness about covid 19 including using the June month which is youth month to reach to many young people enlightening them about the graveness of this virus as some learners are going back to school after two months of lockdown.




February/March 2020


















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