Swati artists based in the diaspora: We speak to Mavava, an MTN SWAMA 2018 Award Nominee
The kingdom of eSwatini is blessed with a number of artists based in the diaspora. Many have left the kingdom to look for greener pastures and some have left for educational purposes. This section is to celebrate all these artists and receive insight on their life and career. In this edition, I had a chat with Port Elizabeth based CEO, DJ and MTN SWAMA Award Nominee (DJ of the year) Vusimuzi Mavava Xaba. Mavava is one of the most hard-working people in this industry with his countless number of achievements. 2018 has been an amazing year for him, with performances at the annual MTN Bushfire Festival, Durban July, Swaziland International Trade Fair just to mention a few and recently a Swati Gqom inspired song. One of the best products from the kingdom, Mavava is very passionate about the entertainment industry.
Briefly tell us who is Mavava?
I always find this question the hardest, anyways let me give it a try. Mavava is a Swazi born DJ who can play all genres but my main focus at the moment is old school kwaito and hip hop. Vusimuzi on the other hand is the founder and CEO of Roka Swazi, co-founder of Elite and the operations manager of Farai Foundation. A very dedicated and passionate events promoter who is currently enrolled for a Masters in IT Software Development at NMMU. I am also enrolling in a Bachelor of Arts soon with UNISA to aid my newly developed film interest.
Where/how did you get that name?
Tell you the truth I woke up Mavava. My high school friends used to call me a lot of names from Mavavamesh, Ma Vri-pop, Mesh etc., due to the fact that I was the entertainment plug. Mavavamesh caught my attention and I decided to use that one but it was too long for posters then decided to just cut it to MAVAVA.
What made you fall in love with music?
I want to believe entertainment chose me. My first newspaper appearance was when I was doing grade 2 at St John Bosco Primary School as a dancer. The following year I was featured in an international calendar. Throughout my primary school days I was the best dancer at the school and had “fans” already [laughs]. Anyways fast forward to my high school days at St john Bosco High School, I was the plug for organizing Kombis to take us to soccer matches and on top of that was responsible for playing music on our way to the games. I knew which song to play when, for instance, just before we enter the stadium, the kombi will stop and wait for me to play the jam then “sibangene”. On arrival I will be the first to jump out and dance. It got so huge that we had people looking forward to our entrances every time Bosco High made an appearance.
The year 2007 was a crazy time for me. I used to wait for my parents to leave home then take out my sound system which I built for myself. I used a Nokia 9500 which was plugged to my amp powering 4 passive 12” Dixons. From then around 2009 I got my first computer then I started playing at church.
I then started DJing at church, a very hard thing to do since I had to be selective with the music and also play gospel tunes. Thank God for Revolution and Bujo Mujo since they had Gospel house jams. Jesrusalem by Ringo and Mandoza (Rest In Peace) was the plug.
From there, I bought myself some speakers and quickly became known as the loudest kid in my hood. I would wait for my parents to leave and then I take my equipment out, then blast sound to the neighborhood with my mic singing along.
All of this contributed in me loving the industry but the lack of getting chances, exposure and platforms to sell my craft ’cause I was still a new kid forced me to start my own stable where I can book myself ’cause no one wants to work with a new “inexperienced” kid ngingati ke kusti bona are they born with experience but asikho lapho.
For those who don’t know you released a single entitled Snazo ft 80 Script, Nomalungelo and Siya Shezi, briefly tell us what prompted you to go into production and what the single is all about?
Snazo was dedicated to this other girl who broke my heart so bad. I am in a very good relationship now love wise and yeah Snazo killed me and tried coming back to me but it was too late, Cookie was there.
On your new track you worked with Nomalungelo again, why her?
I believe in Noma so much, she has a very beautiful voice and very much talented. The next song will feature her even ……shhh don’t print this haha.
Briefly share the concept behind your new song and how you got to work with the artists you worked with?
Dlala is a fresh Siswati fused Gqom track. This is a new concept that hasn’t been done before so I had to make sure I carefully choose who I wanted to work with to produce this awesome piece of art which explains why I chose #DlalaMsiyana who also produced Sho Madjozi’s Huku and Dumi Hi Phone.
You’ve had an amazing year, what has been your highlight so far?
Thank God for 2018. The biggest highlight was playing at Bushfire 2018.
Having played alongside and hosted a number of top South African artists in PE and beyond, what has been your highlight so far?
That is definitely playing at Durban July 2018. S/O to the Touch HD family. I gave Nasty C his first international gig and I will forever be proud of that as that is a huge moment for me.
How have you been able to overcome the different industry challenges?
I recently started reading “The Subtle of not giving a F*ck” and I said to myself, where was this book all along. This industry is brutal, I have learned to always put me first. No matter what the situation is, I know Mavava comes first before anything or anyone else. I now channel all my focus and energy to building the brand more than the next person as most of the industry cats are about doing better than the next person which can derail me from my main purpose.
Briefly tell us about Roka Swazi?
Roka Swazi, a name birthed from simply being a ‘rockstar’ and as an emblem for our native Swazis – represents a small entertainment stable largely based in Swaziland but mostly operated from Port Elizabeth. Although a small enterprise, Roka Swazi is filled with titanic soul and fuel, making it the most propitious business endeavor in the land, and one to keep your eyes on. 2017 marks our 8th year in operation and the 5th as a commercial enterprise.
Our main mission is to create a lucrative business whose sole focus is bringing entertainment to receiving customers like they have never experienced before, exceeding all barriers of expectations and bringing customer satisfaction to a new level. The past few years have seen our stable take on unprecedented projects that have driven this motto into action and have formed a cornerstone to the projects we are looking on adopting in 2018.
What can we expect from Roka Swazi going into spring, festive season and 2019?
We are cooking something very unique and different. More shows, music, films and maybe a Touch Convoy to the kingdom. We are also in final steps of finalizing the Roka Swazi documentary.
What is your take on the state of the Swazi entertainment scene?
Fam, we’re coming up nicely. I mean we need more Bushfire, Luju Fest and Smooth Fest type of events. Thank you for the awards by SWAMAs and all the workshops done by the organization for Swazi artists. I still feel like Swazi TV is not yet doing more for us but I believe and hope that would change in the near future. Thank you to each and every one supporting us from buying tickets, merch and that RT. Thank you Swaziland as without you guys, there is really nothing we can do for the industry.
Where can potential fans get access to you and your music?
Currently on all social media platforms platforms. You can follow me on IG @vavaRokSwazi, Twitter @mavava101 and I’m Vusimuzi Xaba on Facebook. For bookings, you can contact me by using the following contact details; firstname.lastname@example.org or 073 582 1516 by cell.
Listen to Dlala by Mavava no Msiyana.
Mavava is a MTN SWAMA Award Nominee. Find out more about the MTN SWAMA Awards here.