Having gotten her start back in 1993, one would think that Candy Mokwena’s career would have reached this point earlier but the past 24 years have been one hell of a ride for the singer/songwriter.
Speaking to True Love for their August issue, Mokoena revealed that her father died when she was 14 and her mom sold fruits and vegetables to support their small family.
At age 17, she fell pregnant with her first child and got beaten up by her brother after he found out the news.
“I have a scar on my nose. My brother beat me up when he found out I was pregnant and had to leave school. That was wrong, he could have sat me down and had a decent conversation,” she began.
“In a rural area where I come from, there is no one to talk to about sex and contraceptives. Neither my mom nor my older sister spoke to me about boys. Wasn’t promiscuous, it was a one-time thing, and the father denied the baby,” added Candy.
By age 20, she fell pregnant with her second child and didn’t know she was pregnant until she was 6-months along.
“I had two children by different fathers. I made huge mistakes, but I don’t regret having my kids.”
She then went to work on a tea farm in Tzaneen as a secretary where she earned a R180 a month back in the early nineties to support those two kids. She then heard about a local audition which she went to and immediately got into a partnership with the late Shangaan artist, Peta Teanet.
It was then that she left her children with her mother in pursuit if a music career.
She has since worked with Papa Penny Penny and Oskido among many others.
During those years, she lost her first son in a hit-and-run accident, was subsequently diagnosed with type 2 diabetes and sunk into a deep depression which her collaboration with Oskido pulled her out of.
Her 2009 solo debut album, Siki then did well enough for her to buy her first property and the SAMA nominated album she released last year, titled Easy Come, Easy Go finally did what it took to propel her into the limelight.
She has now set her sights on using her music and the traditional outfits she wears to contribute to the cultural socialization of black people in addition to her dream of one day working with the likes of Beyonce and R. Kelly.
In the mean time, she will be working on an entertainment show about the lives of celebrities called ‘Artist Rundown.’ The show will air on regional channel, GauTV. She will also be working on Selaelo Selota’s upcoming album.
After all this time, she has learned one very important lesson though; “our industry is not like America - you can work hard, but not be a millionaire like them. I’ve learnt that making money from music isn’t enough. You have to branch out into other businesses. I’m in transportation right now - I have a few cars working via Uber and Taxify.”
And though her life may not be perfect, at least things are finally starting to look up after all that she has been to. So, if you find yourself feeling stuck in your current problems, remember Candy’s story and let it remind you that nothing lasts forever - not even the bad times.
Main image credit: instagram.com/candytsamandebelesa