Zimbabwean artist Mae Sithole on the ‘Ubuntu’ nature of African music2 minute read

Mae Sithole was born in Zimbabwe but grew up internationally. For the last ten years, she has been based in Cape Town, South Africa. She is the lead singer of the Mae Sithole band and also works in the African policy sector as a researcher and as a leadership development specialist. She is also featured on our list of Top 5 Innovative Cape Town female musicians.

What fuels your music?

I have been influenced a lot by African traditional music including the mbira, marimba, drums and singing that resonates with most societies in Africa. That spontaneous outburst of song in perfect harmony is synonymous with the personality of the African people. We are all different but wonderfully united by something that is not visible to the natural eye. I guess we could call that Ubuntu.

What challenges have you faced in the music industry as a female artist?

It’s tough to start the music journey because of the resources that you need to set it all up. I was blessed to be working and saving up to record the first album, “First Glance”. I also had the support of close friends and family who joined us as musicians, vocalists (my sister Sammy), designers, and producers (Keith Kavayi Records, Takalani Tshikovhi, Khathu Nematei). Any journey on your own is arduous. What gave me the inspiration to do this, is the people I had around me, who continue to support me. I’m blessed to be working with Andrew Baird on my new album too. He is one of my mentors and close friends. The challenge for me and other musicians is continuing to celebrate and share Africa’s gems with the world.

What message would you want to send to the world about your music?

I’m passionate about breaking down silos and exposing the beauty of them. Whenever I travel, I collect local instruments to fuse into my songwriting and performances. I hope one day we will see beyond the borders and labels, and embrace the diversity and unity we have as a people in Africa. This includes our diaspora, with their plethora of experiences and learnings. We are never meant to stay the same, we are constantly evolving. Always growing and learning.

Mae’s new EP will be out in February 2018 and her latest single “Jailor” is available on Itunes; an official music video will be out next week. Like Mae’s Facebook page for updates.

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Rudo Zvobgo is a Zimbabwean who lived in Cape Town for several years before moving to Paris. She is passionate and driven to document events that shape and mold the world we live in. If there's a story to be told you can find her writing, reporting, or hosting.

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