In an Ideal world during Easter people go to church and hold get-togethers with family and friends. But, this year, things are different.
The coronavirus pandemic is at its peak in most countries and fear has clasped societies as we approach April 12th Easter Sunday. Everyone will be expected to maintain social distancing on the holiday and not celebrate in their traditional ways.
In the midst of such a global pandemic, #StayHome with Hype Magazine Zambia easter edition and read about the spiritual journeys and the message of hope and victory from well-known gospel singers, South Africa’s Ntokozo Mbambo as well as Zambia’s Racheal Nanyangwe Kabeba and Abel Musuka Chungu
“I would say, people must stay home and stay safe. Be vigilant. Watch and pray. Be prayerful and soak yourself in the word of God so that you keep your faith strong. For faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God. And finally, for if God be for us, who can be against us. God is with us always so do not fear.”
Ntokozo Mbambo Mbatha is a South Africa genuine article of gospel music who has been in the industry for 15 years. Ntokozo has branded herself ministering at the various places, training and imparting skill and knowledge to other singers and aspiring musicians. Her music style and sound is one that touches one’s body, soul and very being. Reaching across generations, her fresh sounds invoke both praise and worship from the depths of the soul.
Ntokozo was born on November 6th in Kwa-Zulu Natal in the township of Umlazi. Her singing career was introduced to the world by her parents (Mr and Mrs J Mbambo) who gave her the platform to sing in the church worship team.
At the age of 15 Ntokozo was the youngest member to join the sensational Gospel group “Joyous Celebration”. Having released her debut album called “Bambelela” 2001,
Ntokozo has continued to soar in the music sphere. In 2007 she recorded her live DVD/CD called “Keep on Believing” which earned a Metro FM nomination under the category Best Gospel album 2007 and three nominations at the 2008 Crown Gospel Music Awards.
In May 2008 the well-rounded Songstress in her own right married Mr Nqubeko Mbatha, producer of her breakthrough live DVD/CD “Keep on Believing.” They have been blessed with two children. Ntokozo and her family live in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Ntokozo has opened the stage for countless Gospel musicians like Yolanda Adams, Donnie McClurkin, Kirk Franklin and Cece Winans in South African. She has also toured abroad to perform her own music. Her most recent tour has been in the U.S. (Dr Bill Winston Ministries), Ghana, Swaziland, Kenya, Botswana and the U.K.
Ntokozo’s legacy ranges from great music to humanitarian causes. She is undoubted, a fine musician as outlined in the following awards and accomplishments:
-Best Gospel album nomination in Metro FM awards. Crown Gospel Music Awards in 2008 ( three nominations).The 2013 SAMAs. 2013 Crown Gospel Awards. African Gospel Music Awards in the UK.
Hype Magazine Zambia talked to Ntokozo about her storied journey. Check out the full interview below.
Hype Mag: Thanks for your time today!
Where does this interview find you?
Ntokozo: This interview finds me at home since South Africa is in lockdown.
Hype Mag: Is there music playing in the background?
Ntokozo: Yes, there is. I am actually listening to my husband, Nqubeko Mbatha’s, album titled “Heavens Ways”.
Hype Mag: What music gets you instantly out of a bad mood?
Ntokozo: Gospel music that is full of the word of God does it for me.
Hype Mag: Growing up, did you always want to be a musician?
Ntokozo: I actually wanted to be doctor when I was a child because that’s all the other kids said lol. But I have always loved music, even as a little child.
Hype Mag: Can you recall your earliest musical memory?
Ntokozo: Growing up, I was the child who would listen to a song once, when that song was played a second time, I would be found singing along. My parents recognised that gift and made sure that I was surrounded by a lot of good gospel music. I sang in front of an audience for the first time at the age of 4. Started piano lessons at 5 years old. And the rest is history.
Hype Mag: Was there a time where you thought of doing something completely different?
Ntokozo: Yes there was. I wanted to be a psychologist. I studied it for 1 year but didn’t finish. I actually still plan on completing my degree in the future.
Hype Mag: Where do you come from and how has that city or town influenced your career as an artist now.
Ntokozo: I grew up in Durban, South Africa. In a township called Umlazi. The sounds I heard being sung by music groups & choirs in Umlazi and the music my father played in his car have influenced me greatly.
Hype Mag: What would you say got you started?
Ntokozo: I wasn’t the one who discovered the gift in me. My parents did when I was 4 years old. From then onwards. I sang at weddings, funerals, churches, conferences, concerts with my parents right beside me.
Hype Mag: What made Ntokozo Mbambo gospel artist that she is today?
Ntokozo: Firstly, being a born again child of God & preserving a fruitful relationship with God. Consistency. Perseverance. Having a teachable spirit. And listening to a lot of diverse music to keep my musical ear & vocal relevant.
Hype Mag: Overall, how was 2019 for you and your music career?
Ntokozo: 2019 was a great year for me. I did a lot of traveling outside of South Africa. God opened some amazing doors and I really enjoyed myself. I also released a single with my favourite artist, Jonathan Butler titled “Jehovah You Reign”.
Hype Mag: What are you most excited about in 2020?
Ntokozo: I really believe that 2020 will bring some innovation with it for us all. It will force us out of our comfort zones and make us dig deeper.
Hype Mag: So congrats on your nominations for”Keep on Believing” it earned you a Metro FM nomination under the category Best Gospel album 2007 and three nominations at the 2008 Crown Gospel Music Awards.
Also Congrats for the double-platinum CD “Filled” the album has won your awards at the 2013 SAMAs, the 2012 and 2013 Crown Gospel Awards and at the 2013 Africa Gospel Music Awards held in the UK.
When you were putting together, “Filled” which you recorded at a sold-out Lyric Theatre concert in Johannesburg: did you feel that was a special project and some of your best work? Were there any unexpected challenges or surprises about it all? Has there been any other projects?
Ntokozo: Its a great blessing to be able to get recognition for the work that I do, although I am never driven by that recognition. I believe in following Gods lead always and then everything else will fall into place.
I have released 2 other albums since Filled (2012), and they are “Spirit and Life” (2015), “Moments In Time” (2018). I also recently released a single last year 2019 titled, “Jehovah you reign” which features the amazing Jonathan Butler, that is my favourite song at the moment.
Hype Mag: Do you think that you have grown as an artist since your first release “Bambelela” in 2001?
Ntokozo: Yes I definitely have grown since 2001. Thats about 19 years ago. If I wasn’t growing then I would be dying.
Hype Mag: What motivates you to make music year after year, does it change at all, if so how?
Ntokozo: My greatest motivation is God and His word. What is God saying & what does He want His people to know.
The message is the same, but the sound (vehicle) may evolve & grow but the message stays the same.
Hype Mag: What do you think of the evolution of Gospel music?
Ntokozo: What defines Gospel Music is the message that it carries. The styles & musical preferences of consumers may change as the years go by, but the message has stayed the same & that’s what’s important.
Hype Mag: Do you think it has changed since you have been making this music?
Ntokozo: I think that the music has grown with the times & as a result has stayed relevant and there is nothing wrong with that.
Hype Mag: Do you find that the younger gospel artists are changing the game at all?
Ntokozo: As long as the name of Jesus is lifted and people are encouraged in the word of God, then I see no problem in young people doing gospel music that speaks to them. I believe that people should be allowed the freedom to express themselves in God freely as scriptures say that “He whom the son sees free is free in deed.”. As long as it is in line with the word of God, then keep on raising the Jesus flag.
Hype Mag: What do you think of social media today and the importance of it for artists now?
Ntokozo: Social media has definitely made things easier. Right now most of the world is in lockdown. Saints can’t gather in churches and worship together, but we’re able to worship together by using the tool of social media. We watch our pastors sermons online now and the body is encouraged during these rough times because social media is a tool that is keeping us in contact with each other.
Hype Mag: Do you find that it’s hard to keep up with it all?
Ntokozo: I just make sure to remind myself that social media is a “tool” that I should use & must not allow it to consume me.
Hype Mag: We are living in a crazy and at times rough world right now so I am curious, as a gospel artist how do you think that new music being created today is going to reflect during these difficult times?
Ntokozo: The word gospel means “Good News” and the good news message doesn’t change, it stays the same. Whether times are rough or tough, Jesus still saves. Jesus is still the answer for our world today. He is still the hope of glory. The difficult times we live in do not change who Jesus is and what He has done & continues to do for us. Our message as gospel artists should still remain the same and point people back to Jesus.
Hype Mag: Who are some of your favourite artists or rather, what musicians have continued to inspire you and your music?
Ntokozo: There is a long list of artists who have inspired me over the years. I’ll just name a few but there is so many more… Dr. Rebecca Malope, Pastor Mthunzi Namba, Rev. Benjamin Dube, Cece Winans etc.
Hype Mag: What musicians would you absolutely love to work with in the future?
Ntokozo: There is too many to name and besides I don’t want to give away my future plans yet lol.
Hype Mag: What do you hope your fans take away from your music?
Ntokozo: I just pray that they take Jesus, find comfort, receive joy, and peace through my music.
Hype Mag: Let me take you back to 2008, ‘becoming Mrs. Mbatha’ this happened at the pick of your career. How did you meet Mr. Nqubeko Mbatha?
Ntokozo: There is actually not 1 specific event where we were officially introduced to each other. If there is then I don’t remember because I was very young. We would see each other at concerts, church conferences, funerals, weddings etc. because we were both in separate gospel groups at the time, and our groups would be invited to sing at the same events. In 2001 we both joined Joyous Celebration (I was 15 years old) and became work colleagues. Few years later, we became great friends and fell in love.
Hype Mag: How would you describe such a blessing?
Ntokozo: The best way to describe such a blessing is “heaven ordained”.
Hype Mag: How many children do you have and how do you manage it all as a wife, a mother, a gospel artist?
Ntokozo: We have been blessed with 2 children, 2 girls. I believe the Holy Spirit helps me to manage it all. On my own, I am hopeless but thank God for His sweet spirit that guides & leads me in ALL things.
Hype Mag: Lastly during this time of the COVID-19 pandemic, How are you receiving the news?
Ntokozo: The days are definitely different to what we are used to. People are afraid and uncertain. My family and I are following the laws set out by our government of a lockdown and we’re following the health officials guidelines as well. We are staying prayerful and reading the word a lot so that our faith stays strong in this season, which shall pass soon.
Hype Mag: Are you thinking of any project during the lockdown?
Ntokozo : I am currently doing live worship on Wednesdays at 6pm (Central Africa Time) which I have titled “Tarry With Me”. While we wait on God to work in our nations, we wait in worship, prevail and intercede for our nations.
Hype Mag: In relation to your Christian belief what advice can you give to your fans and the world?
Ntokozo: I would say, people must stay home and stay safe. Be vigilant. Watch and pray. Be prayerful and soak yourself in the word of God so that you keep your faith strong. For faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God. And finally, for if God be for us, who can be against us. God is with us always so do not fear.
Catch Ntokozo Mbambo on Social Media .
Facebook: Ntokozo Mbambo
Apple Music: Ntokozo Mbambo
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