Mokwena has eye on Samas success

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The latest South African Music Awards-nominated album from afro-soul singer Candy Sekedi Mokwena, well known for her hit single Tsa Mandebele with Oskido, is a celebration of her identity, an ode to infertile women, love and an appreciation of young African girls.

Hupenyu Unenge Viri (Life is Like a Wheel) is nominated in the best traditional album category of the prestigious awards to be held in Sun City on June 1.

While each of the 10 songs in on the album vents the singer’s stand on several socials issues, Mokwena can barely hide her emotions when she reveals more about the track Kellela Ngwana (Mpho Ya Bophelo).

The song is inspired by the pain that she experienced seeing what other women who struggle to conceive, have to go through, she said. With this song she is telling the story of a woman whose husband and family blame her for her inability to conceive, that ultimately leads to the marriage’s demise.

“This song is dedicated to all women who are experiencing infertility,” she said. I hope I am able to heal someone through the song,” an emotional Mokwena said.

I just sang in my home language without fear, because it’s what I knew best’
Candy Sekedi Mokwena

As with all her music over the past 25 years, the Limpopo-born singer continues to take pride in her home language of Khelobedu. The album boasts lyrics which are done in up to five African languages.

“I just sang in my home language without fear because it’s what I knew best.“At the time, I didn’t think I was doing anything revolutionary because I spoke Khelobedu everyday . . . it was my official language regardless of what the rest of the country defined an official language as,” she said.

However, she now expresses delight at the path she has carved out for other artists to sing in their home language.

“I am glad that the fact that I am comfortable with who I am has inspired and opened a path for the likes of King Monada to sing freely in our beautiful language, just as the likes of Yvonne Chaka Chaka paved the way for me to express myself through music,” she said.

The singer recently took up acting and joined SABC 2 telenovela Giyani Land of Blood as Khelobedu-speaking Mhani Diyani.

Looking back at the past 25 years since she joined the industry as a high school drop out and young mother of two, Mokwena recalled how she used to skip Sunday school to accompany her mother to women’s gatherings in the village where they sang and danced.

“Music has always been a part of me,” she said.

“My mother played percussion and was a lead vocalist at women’s gatherings in the village, and I’m told that my maternal grandmother was also a brilliant vocalist.”

  • Hupenyu Unenge Viri is available on digital and at music stores.