To those who don’t know who is Jessica Mbangeni?
Jessica Mbangeni is the custodian of the African heritage, the daughter of the amaXhosa tribe and the pride of Africa. I was born Xhosa living among amaXhosa tribe. My upbringing was privileged by the rich culture and authentic traditions that were and are still practiced by my community.
Who was instrumental in you becoming the performer and entrepreneur that you are now?
My family is a family of creative entrepreneurs. My grandmother was a spaza shop owner, a clothing designer. She was also an avid reader and storyteller. My father is also a professional designer and a tailor who studied fashion design. I come from a family that is very self-sufficient.
When did you start your business and how has that journey been?
I’ve started my business at the age of 10. I never stopped until I got a small capital running my stall in the Market theatre where I was identified by big clients and public figures who supported my work.
The journey has been tough. Initially, the people I was working with felt inferior because they felt as if I was holding them back from their ambitions and aspirations.
Since then, I have established my brand and now my customers get to embody their sense of being through my brand KwaNtu Afrocentric Designs.
You won a SATMA for Best Traditional album in 2017, describe that memorable moment in your career…
SATMAs have elevated the Jessica Mbangeni brand. When my name was announced I felt like I was walking on the clouds. In my speech, I spontaneously gushed out “I am an African”. I was very excited to be recognized in my country of origins.
Your song As’phelelanga with Vusi Nova is one of the most popular songs at the moment, how did that collaboration come about?
Vusi Nova made a one phone call that changed my life where I was able to pay the tribute to all the fallen heroes in the music industry where most of them I have worked closely with or interacted with them. This call came at the time I was still grieving for Winnie Madikizela Mandela. I don’t think I will ever hurt like that again. Vusi’s call has given me a chance to heal. As a praise poetry I heal when I utter the worlds to the universe through masses.
Watch the video for Jessica’s hit song Afrika, here:
For part 2 of our interview with Jessica, click here!