Traditional music is one of South Africa’s most loved music genres, it is however one of the few that is still mostly looked down upon as it is often associated with people who are backward and illiterate.
Modern history and market sensibilities have attempted to place African traditional music into palatable ‘world music’ categories for foreign ears, reducing the music to a marketable and definable ‘essence’.
This often fails to consider that traditional music is dynamic and does not operate in isolation - it spears forth just as much as it boomerangs back. Like modern popular genres, traditional music continues to evolve.
We caught up with Mosekedi Candy Mokwena, who is popularly known as Candy Tsamandebele - a household name in traditional music and a renowned actress in some of the country’s popular television programmes.
The veteran actress/ singer was born in a Limpopo village called GaSedibeng in Bolobedu where she lived with her mother and three siblings.
At the age of 12 she joined a music group in her village where her mother was the group leader. Candy has worked as backing singer, choreographer and as behind the scenes crew for some of the biggest names – among whom are, Papa Penny Penny and Brothers of Peace.
Take a look at GLAMOUR’s Q&A with the down to earth singer.
Candy Tsamandebele, would you please briefly tell us what does women’s month and in particular women’s day mean to you?
It means and tells us as women that there were others before us who fought for us, they started the journey, as such we should continue celebrating this day and fight for what we know we deserve no matter what.
How would you advise young women who have just started out in the music and television industry, what should they be doing in order to succeed?
First, one should be talented. And secondly, one should also understand the meaning behind talent alone is not enough.
Candy you have released a new album so, can you please tell us who is it for and what message does it have for women especially in their month?
Hupenyu Unenge Viri is a celebration of African languages and cultures. This album caters to a variety of musical tastes, from AfroSoul to House. The messages in this album ranges from self-love to celebrating who you are.
We have also noticed that you are somehow a jack of all trades, as you are now also an actress in the popular SABCs Giyani: Land Of Blood telenovela, what has the experience been like?
While I had an acting stint on a previous production, I never thought I could bag such a wonderful role. The flamboyant and loud nature of my character is not easy to execute yet with the assistance of my fellow actors, I manage. This character has taught me so much about myself. It has been such a wonderful ride; her storyline is interesting and her no-nonsense attitude is just as interesting.
We know that you are living with type 2 diabetes, so how has it been for you as an actress, what challenges have you faced and how have you overcome them especially in a cutthroat industry like acting and music?
It has not been easy at all. The disease has its own effects on a human being’s body, so you can imagine my reality on a daily basis. I wouldn’t want to call it challenging, rather eye opening and educational. I had to learn to eat healthy and exercise, and at the same time teach my family my way of living so that everyone could learn to support me. I am grateful for the support from them.
And lastly, please do tell us how do you feel about young people and culture, have they embraced it and also do you think young people are proud of themselves especially in regards to traditional music?
There are so many challenges that young people are facing now, some economical, some just around identity and culture. As a result, I think they have adopted cultures and identities they are struggling to embrace. There is this idea around them that the traditional ways and music is not ‘cool’ or not viable anymore.