A fresh new take on unplugged sessions

POLOKWANE – Her unique choice of stage gives 33-year-old Ntsikwane Rapheshu, who performs at local parks from the boot of her car, a fresh angle to her music. These “unplugged” sessions make her a breath of fresh air in the industry.

Ntsikwane originally hails from Solomondale and alternatively resides in Polokwane and Pretoria, depending on where her music takes her. She started off her tertiary education by studying sports management at the Tshwane University of Technology (TUT).

She also completed a drama course at the University of Pretoria because she was interested in becoming an actress.

“I knew since I was seven or eight years old that I wanted to be in the entertainment industry. Music was initially an extension of my acting career and ultimately took over as my main focus after I was hired by a company to record a song for an industrial theatre show.

“Being in the studio and recording the song for them inspired me to record my first album,” she explained how her love affair with music began.

Her highlight shows for last year was an opening act for Ray Phiri in Ga-Rankuwa and performing with Selaelo Selota at the Atterbury Theatre in Pretoria.

“Those were the biggest highlights of my career as a musician thus far and I still enjoy each and every performance,” she added.

Ntsikwane performed in Seshego Zone 1 on Sunday from the boot of her car where she mesmerised the audience with her enchanting voice as her fingers danced over the guitar strings, sending shivers up and down many a spine.

“I enjoy singing most when I am relaxed, when I can sit in the boot of my car and pour my soul into my music and singing. That is when I enjoy singing most.”

She explained that she loves how music has the power to inspire, heal, make people feel good, and sometimes remind them of happy and painful times. Music, she believes, is the best medium for her to express herself and entertain people at the same time.

“My family is very supportive of my music career which gives me more courage and inspiration to perform. I remember when I first started out as a musician in Pretoria, my family travelled all the way from Polokwane to see my performances,” she said.

Their support and motivation is what has kept her chasing after her dream, and although there were times when she wanted to quit, their support and dedication lifted her up and kept her going.

One of her fondest memories is from when she was around eight years old. She remembered singing along to her father as he played piano which played a big part in inspiring her career choice.

“My dad taught me a lot about music while growing up such as how to be confident when I perform on stage. Although that helped a lot, I am mostly still a bundle of nerves when I walk out on stage,” she laughed.

However, this is all made worthwhile, she added, when the audience wholeheartedly sing along with her songs, especially the ones that resonate with their personal circumstances.

Ntsikwane has released two albums, the first, Wonderful, was released in 2007, the second, The Soul Experiment, released in 2014. This year, she said, marks her first decade in the music industry and she has a series of pop-up mini concerts planned across Limpopo, Gauteng, and Mpumalanga to celebrate with her fans.

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Anne Molope

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