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GLAMOUR Women in Charge: Meet Marcia Buwa

Eastern Cape born all-round media creative, Marcia Buwa is steadily building a name for herself in the film and cinematography space. Here, she chats to us about her musical background and using her voice for impact.

Glamour: Please introduce yourself to our audience?

Marcia: I am a 32 year old Xhosa woman born in Port St John’s (Eastern Cape) and raised in Durban and Bizana (Mam cakwen’ ). I am a media specialist but currently focusing on music composition for film and cinematography. My super power is my vocal ability.

Glamour: Please talk to us about your musical background?

Marcia: I started making music at a very early age but it was never on serious terms. It’s only when my mom and I started a band called Mother and Daughter where I realised that I just might be talented. We performed in different universities and art schools but due to my mum becoming ill, the band had to take a pause. I then decided to study Jazz at UKZN (University of KwaZulu-Natal natal) but due to funds I could not continue. I then found a local residency at the Bat Centre that offered similar courses for a duration of 12months. Once I had completed that residency I enrolled myself at the Creative Arts College to study sound engineering and production. During these years of studying I was also entering different competitions and reality shows to try get exposure as an artist.

Glamour: What were some of the defining moments in your career?

Marcia: My journey started with SA Idols 2010 and I made the top 100 , I then participated in the Coca-Cola Pop Stars and made it to the top 48 , and the last major reality show I participated in was Vuzu hustle (rap competition) and I made it to the top 10. This lead to me being spotted by an international artist Toya Delazy and she signed me onto her label as 1 part of the Klutch Kollective (All female rap group).I stayed with the label for 2 years. I later became the Head of a recording label based in South Africa funded by a sponsor from Uganda, unfortunately I did not have the same goal as the sponsors and I left the company. In the past few years I’ve had the privilege of being part of the collaborative that created the Trace Tv gender equality track and I was selected as top 10 up and coming South African Producers by Standard Bank.

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Glamour: You're the lead composer for Nkashi; Race of Okovango. Firstly, congratulations! How did this come about and how was the experience?

Marcia: The beautiful thing about the collective that I am part of is that we have no leader or lead composer. We all had or have a role to play and that is what keeps us afloat. I was invited by NEWF (Nature environment and Wildlife filmmakers) back in 2021 to be part of their Composers Lab. Composers Lab is where a selected group of up and coming composers get an opportunity to learn more about composing and meet industry greats to find themselves mentors that will help guide them through the process of becoming. Being part of that collaborative granted us so many opportunities and one of the opportunities was for us to perform for live audiences that come from across the globe and at one particular performance (Jackson wild summit 2022) we were spotted by National Geographic Explorers (Charles, Dustin and Sylvia). They immediately approached us and told us that they are working on a film titled Nkashi - The race to the okovango and they hoped that we would be keen to participate as part composers of the film.

The conversation lead to another conversation and the next thing we knew we were in Okovango Delta working on the score for Nkashi. Because none of us were locals from Botswana we were paired up with 2 major artists from Botswana and they immediately became part of the NEWF compose yourself lab. I’ve had the privilege of travelling to many places because of the composing collaborative that I am part of but there was something different about Botswana. It felt like the beginning of change and alignment. 7 African young people where put together by National geographics society and Africa Refocused to travel to an African country to compose for an African (international) film, wow!

Glamour: What's your take on the relationship between cinematography and music?

Marcia: Within my growth journey I’ve had the opportunity to work and experience both fields. Cinematography and music are the key elements to evoking or creating emotions. In the film industry a film is never complete without the right or suitable type of music or soundscape design. What we hear usually interprets what we see , visa versa.

Glamour: What sort of conversations do you naturally gravitate towards?

Marcia: Any conversation that helps with my spiritual and physical growth. I believe our souls are placed on earth so we can truly discover our purpose. I also have a very goofy personality therefore comedy and humour keep me smiling and happy daily.

Glamour: This is the first Setswana film on National Geographic. What would you say this speaks to?

Marcia: Change. One of my mentors and current boss, Noel Kok has always said, the only way to change the narrative is to change the story teller. I agree and believe in that statement 100%. Africa currently has the fastest growing wildlife and environment industry across the world and it is because we have decided to start telling our own stories , using different mediums such as music and film but not limited to. This being the first Setswana film means we are slowly but steadily winning.

Glamour: What's the significance of the location in the context of the film?

Marcia: It is to show the beauty of the Okovango Delta but most importantly to create permanent and sustainable community led systems of protection within the Okovango delta using story telling as the key driver.

Glamour: What was your biggest takeaway from the experience?

Marcia: There is so much beauty in celebrated culture. I come from a very urbanised background and being in the Delta allowed for me to remove any shape or idea I had of how one should live. I found a piece of me in every person I met in the Delta. This has taught me to appreciate myself and always understand that happiness comes from within.

Glamour: What sort of conversations are you hoping will emanate from the film?

Marcia: I’m hoping people and funding organisations are already creating strategies on how to lend a helping hand to the Delta. Not to become saviours because the local communities already know how to survive, but instead how do they assist in keeping the culture alive.

Glamour: What do you hope viewers will take away from engaging with the content?

Marcia: The film and the music combined are meant to create an experience for the audience. I can never be able to tell people what experience they should take away but they are definitely bound to feel something.

Glamour: Please complete the sentence, I care about sustainability because...

Marcia: We are earth. Earth is us.

Glamour: We are moving towards Women's Month, and we live in an era where women are occupying space unapologetically. In light of this, what's your message to the women who marched to the Union Buildings in 1956?

Marcia: We will forever appreciate and applaud all the women who had the strength to participate in bringing about change. The battle still exists, we might not be marching or protesting but we exist within the 4 walls called offices or homes and we still continue to fight or stand for what is correct.

Glamour: What else can we expect from Marcia?

Marcia: It took me a while to realise that this entire journey is not just for me.I stand for so many demographics that are considered taboo in the world but the one thing that I can not be denied is my talents and gifts. The long term goal is to become an icon not for the riches but to inspire those who come from environments where you have no choice but to conform because there is no one around who is doing them (freedom). I have no idea what’s next but I know the universe has placed only great things for me in the near future.

Watch Nkashi: Race for the Okavango on National Geographic Wild DStv Channel 182

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