According to Sundayworld, Maya Wegerif has dived head first into the pool as an actress and rapper of Afrocentric hip-hop sounds.
Wegerif, 25, who goes by the stage name Sho Madjozi, hails from Elim in Limpopo but is now based in Jozi and is a breath of fresh air to the industry while she swells with pride, singing in Xitsonga.
She regards herself as a writer first, then a poet, a musician and now an actress after making her debut on the Mzansi Magic drama series Isithembiso.
She plays Tsakane, a young attractive woman besotted with Bambatha (played by Lemogang Tsipa), though she is struggling to get his attention. She is a politics student and a radical SRC leader who advocates for protests.
“I was told about the Isithembiso auditions by Kutlwano Ditsele [producer of the drama series]. He sent me a message, I then went for auditions in January this year,” she recalls.
“Unfortunately the character they were looking for was that of a Zulu-speaking girl. I auditioned nevertheless and waited for the outcome.
“The next thing, I received a call back and was told producers have “written a new role, that of Tsakane. To say I was overjoyed is an understatement, this is my first big break in this craft.”
So why Wegerif and why Sho Madjozi? “My mom is Tsonga, my father is white. There was this character on SABC1’s Generations called Vivian Majozi (Faye Peters), people said I look like her. And I have this habit of saying ‘sure’, so it stuck with me and I fused the two, to be known as ‘Sho Madjozi’.”
But as a writer and a poet, Wegerif refuses to be typecast by the spoken word only. And despite never imagining herself as a rapper, she tried to become a ghost-writer of rap sounds.
She boldly contacted one of her idols in the local hip-hop world, Okmalumkoolkat, who was astounded by her confidence after sending through some of her verses. Thereafter, they decided to work together.
She was excited to collaborate with Okmalumkoolkat on three of his songs for his now chart-topping album Mlazi Milano, a feat that led to Wegerif staking her claim on the local rap scene. “He didn’t want me to write, he wanted me to rap.
“I did what I like and enjoy most, rapping in my home language Xitsonga.”
And she keeps proving there is more to the “xibelani” traditional skirt she wears when performing. Her single Dumi Hi Phone, featuring Ps DJz, is receiving nationwide airplay.