Rapper turns tough life into words of hope

Yoliswa Sobuwa

A NEW Brighton rap and hip-hop star who is no stranger to hardship has just finished his third album after a seven-year absence from the music scene.

Former Skwatta Kamp back-up artist Siyabulela Nozewu, known as My Man, is trying to encourage those who are hopeless by incorporating his life story into his music.

The Nelson Mandela Bay musician lost both his parents within months of each other in 2003 and ended up living on the street after they died.

The same year, the rap musician was stabbed. “I stayed at Livingstone Hospital for a month and when I recovered, the doctors said I should thank my God because they could not find my family to switch off my life support machine as there was no hope of me coming out alive.

“I also discovered that I was sleeping in the same bed where my father took his last breath four months earlier. That is when I decided to go and look for greener pastures in Johannesburg,” he said.

As soon as he had recovered, My Man moved to the city of gold with no money, armed only with the addresses of recording companies. For three months, he lived at the Johannesburg Park Station and survived by begging on the streets.

His luck changed when he met Skwatta Kamp rapper Slikour, who introduced him to the other members of the group and offered him a place to stay.

“Slikour opened doors for me and I managed to release my first album. Things started looking good for me as I used to back Skwatta Kamp. My first single called IDC became No 1 on Metro FM’s Tbo Touch show. I even featured the late Lebo Mathosa on one of the tracks, Siyavuma.”

Nozewu then decided to start his own company, Mzansi Sounds, in 2006. “I was mentored by Zola, of Zola 7. Over the years I have been busy trying to build my company. My second album, Indlela, Inyani, was released, although it was never distributed at the shops,” he said.

The versatile musician will release his new album in stages, with his single, Khandijonge, to come first. “I have not decided on the title of the album as yet.”

My Man has also been doing voice-overs for Bay TV, where he presents entertainment news. “My life story is encouraging to those who are hopeless. I am a Xhosa ambassador who fuses rap with African elements to pass on real messages,” he said.

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