Shifting gears from your first love which is art, let’s talk about your 8 to 5 job, War of Leaks (Wol) Water Agent Trainee with the Department of Water and Sanitation in Welkom, what exactly are you doing there?

We are taught about water conservation, management and quality, and learn how to do meter readings. We also teach the community about how to conserve water and identify leaks. SA loses a lot of water through leaks, we are therefore responding to the shortage of water by minimizing water loss.

At first it was about getting something to do for security purposes. There are no guaranteed cheques in art and I needed something to do while waiting to be booked for a performance. I have actually fallen in love with it as water is the force of life. Being a water agent trainee for me is also about giving back to the community through the community outreach programmes we have.

The programmes are part of our training where we teach people about water reuse and actually paying for the services. I love the practical part of it. Dedicating my time and responding to the call that we need to save water.

You are also doing organic poultry farming right? Tell us about that?

Yes, I am still growing and hope to supply South Africa with organic chicken in the near future.

I began farming early this year and its growing slowly but surely.

So many hats, how do you replace one with the other when the time comes for you to be an artist and still respond to your 8 to 5 responsibility?

I would be lying if I gave you a straight answer but time management and prioritizing is what get me by. If you love and respect what you do, it will love you back and you somehow will find a balance between them.

Prioritization is also important and analyzing if some things are necessary to do. The mistake we often make when we are tackling two things at once is to assume that any opportunity that comes by is a blessing while some are just a distraction.

nomthandazo tsembeni carob magazine

Photo credit: Ntsako Mbhokota @ Carob Magazine

What is your favorite destination in Africa and why?

I have so many of them but I have to say Ethiopia and not because it is believed that it has the most beautiful women. I believe that every woman is beautiful and I believe our beauty compliments our different characters.

It is because life began in Ethiopia, humankind began there, that is where the Garden of Eden is.

Must we keep our eyes and ears open for Nomthandazo on the world stage?

Definitely, I have a lot of things planned.

Putting poetry and music in one basket is one of them because I usually mix music with poetry and it works wonders.

Do you think you can make good money or comfortable living out of your art?

I am and I stopped complaining about a lot of things, one of the reasons why people fail is because they complain about everything and the mere fact for living in itself is in fact a blessing.

When you take care of your art and protect it, it takes a good care of you as well. I have succeeded through art because I define success as the ability to change lives in the absence of money.

What advice can you give to young African girls out there who want to pursue art as a career?

The first most important thing to do is to ask, never be afraid to ask no matter how stupid you think the question it, you might be surprised. The problem we have as black woman is being afraid to ask because we think it makes us look inferior while asking opens doors for you because you learn about things you needed to hear from other people.

You should listen to other voices at times in order to grow. If you have a plan on what you want to do no matter how long it takes, keep at it and be patient with yourself.

Love what you do and don’t look at the other persons lawn and want yours the very same way, nourish yours and take care of it. I spent a lot of money investing in what I do, never put money before anything, most blessings come when you are not expecting them.

Not all opportunities are opportunities as some might be distractions. Pick your opportunities carefully, learn to separate opportunities from distractions. Be focused and remember to ask.

Respect, love and invest in what you do. If I didn’t use a lot of money going to unpaying gigs then I wouldn’t be where I am today or living to tell my story through my art.

A child that has been given everything on a silver platter might not appreciate everything they have. A poor child appreciates everything.


Hey South African #MotherlandMoguls, the SheHive will be landing in Johannesburg from November 3-6. Find out more here.

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