Tsonga singer, rapper poet and songwriter Sho Madjozi is one of South Africa's fastest rising stars. The artist who is known for her single John Cena and her unique hairstyles has shared the stage with acclaimed artists like Chris Martin, Cardi B, Shawn Mendes, Janelle Monáe and The Weeknd.
Sho Madjozi was one of several African stars who performed at the 2018 Global Citizen Festival in New York. The Limpopo musician also made an appearance at the Global Citizen Festival: Mandela 100 in Johannesburg alongside Beyoncé and Pharrell Williams.
Seeing that her music is inspired by her Tsonga culture and language, Sho Madjozi proudly sings in her mother tongue and regularly performs the indigenous dance of Tsonga women wearing a xibelani skirt.
"I think that if you are Zulu, you put in a Zulu raps, if you're Tswana then Tswana raps. So I didn't think that it will be a big deal. I didn't realise that it would be a big thing. And then it was, and that to me was a shock. I just thought that, well this is the language I speak and so that's the language I'm going to rap in. Plus it sounds dope," she said during an interview on Metro FM.
Just last year, BBC named Sho Madjozi as the Artist to Watch and is indeed without a doubt making incredible strides in her music career. Her music is recognized by fans all over the world, breaking barriers and winning hearts everywhere she goes. Enough said, let’s have a look at Sho Madjozi's biography.
Sho Madjozi Real Name
Sho Madjozi's real name is Maya Christinah Xichavo Wegerif. Her stage name was inspired by Vivian Majozi, a character on hit South African soapie, Generations, played by actress Faye Peters. Her cousins thought she looked like Faye and started calling her by the character's name. Sho dropped Vivian and added "Sho". She also added a "d" to Majozi to come up with her name, Sho Madjozi.
While studying Creative Writing and African Studies at the Mount Holyoke College in Massachusetts, America, So Madjozi went by the pseudonym Maya The Poet.
Sho Madjozi Age
Born on May 9th 1992 in Shirley Village in Limpopo's Elim community, Sho Madjozi is currently 29 years old. She was born as an only child to her parents but has half-siblings on both sides. Madjozi has lived in Tanzania and Senegal and can, therefore, speak both Kiswahili and French thanks to her travels.
Sho Madjozi Parents
Sho Madjozi's father is a Swedish man named Marc Wegerif. He is a charity worker and has travelled to many countries in Africa. Marc ran an NGO that assisted people with their land claim applications.
He took his daughter along with him on some of his travels. Sho Madjozi spent several years in Tanzania during her high school days where her father worked for the global charity organisation, Oxfam, in Dar es Salaam.
Sho Madjozi's father was married to her mother, Rosemary Phaweni. “My mother was a village beauty who fell in love with a white boy. She was tall and slender," Sho Madjozi told the Mail and Guardian in 2018. She gets her love for culture from her parents.
Speaking during an interview with TimesLIVE the artist said, "My father met my mother when he was laying low during the apartheid era. I was raised by people that loved who they are and I spoke Xitsonga from the first time I could speak. My dad lived in the village and was a true village man. He spoke Tsonga and for me he was Tsonga. He even joined stokvels and everything. He was (and still is) truly invested in the culture,"
Sho Madjozi's parents divorced when she was still young.
Sho Madjozi Music Career Journey
Having spent most of her childhood years travelling to different parts of Africa and America, Sho Madjozi grew up listening to Sade, the Fugees, Oliver Mtukudzi, and Kanda Bongo Man. While studying in the US, Sho Madjozi became a published poet. Her poems dealt with her identity and politics.
After completing her studies, she returned to South Africa in 2016 and enrolled at the University of South Africa. She continued songwriting and soon began creating her own music. Sho Madjozi got her first real taste of fame when she featured on Okmalumkoolkat's hit single, Ngiyashisa Bhe. They collaborated on another hit song, Gqi.
In April 2017, she released her first single, Dumi HiPhone. The song featured electronic dance duo PS DJz. One year later she dropped one of her biggest hits to date, Huku. The track was the lead single off her debut album, Limpopo Champions League, which was released in December 2018 and was an instant hit. Her other big hits include Kona, Wakanda Forever and Idhom. Sho Madjozi's songs have gained popularity worldwide. She was one of several African stars who featured on the Black Panther movie's soundtrack.
Sho Madjozi's latest single, John Cena, has inspired an international dance challenge. The track is inspired by American wrestler, John Cena. Sho Madjozi raps:
Some gonna act rough like John Cena
Some gonna get buff like John Cena
We used to be cool
When I used to come through
Now you wanna act tough like John Cena
John Cena showed Sho Madjozi some love by giving her a shout-out on social media.
Sho Madjozi Big Wins
It is no surprise that award-winning rapper Sho Madjozi continues to stock her shelves with award after award for her exemplary work in as far as her music career is concerned. So far, Sho Madjzoi won "Best Newcomer" and "Best Female Artist" at the 2019 South African Music Awards (SAMAs).
Not only that, she went ahead to add another award to her growing list of accomplishments after winning Nickelodeon’s Kids’ Choice Awards (KCA) 2020.
The Tsonga hitmaker received the Favourite African Star at the virtually hosted awards, hosted by Victoria Justice. In the Favourite African Star category, the Huku hitmaker was nominated alongside Shekhinah, Teni, and Patricia Kihoro.
In a statement to TshisaLIVE, Sho Madjozi said, “Our job is to work, move forward, and never reverse. Nickelodeon thank you for this amazing award and to everyone that voted. I am so excited! World, we have one message for you, Africa is coming and we are coming for you,”
Last year, Sho Madjozi got nominated for the MTV Africa Music Awards Kampala 2021 among other artists like Busiswa and Dj Maphorisa. In October 2020 the same year, she was also nominated for the E People’s Choice Award together with Thuso Mbedu.
Wait a minute, that’s not all! Other than being signed to Epic Records label, 2021 saw Sho Madjozi being selected as one of the 21 artists joining the #YouTubeBlack Voices Class of 2021. Sho Madjozi has won The Best New International Artist at the BET awards and has once again been nominated for yet another BET award; Best International Artist. We couldn’t be more proud of Sho Madjozi.
Who is Sho Madjozi’s Boyfriend?
Sho Madjozi was last year linked to KwaZulu-Natal artist Sjava after the musicians were spotted looking cosy at a music show shortly after the Durban July. Their fans were quick to label them boyfriend and girlfriend. Sho Madjozi set the record straight a few days later, saying she is just friends with Sjava.
“I know the picture that had people thinking we are dating. I had some glitter on my head and Sjava was helping to remove it. But some photographer captured that moment. That’s a beautiful picture he took. I’m even thinking of printing and keeping it. It’s just a Tsonga princess and a Zulu prince taking a photo together. That’s why people love that picture," she told the Daily Sun.
Sho who was also linked to cricket star Kagiso Rabada is currently very much single and busy focusing on her career. She took a swipe at one of her ex-boyfriends during her acceptance speech at the 2019 South African Music Awards, revealing that while recording her debut album, she slept at her producer PH's studios and was going through a "crazy heartbreak" at the time.
"For my now ex, who's probably regretting...there's a song on my album that I would like to dedicate to him. It's track two on Limpopo Champions League; it's called Idhom," she said.
Sho Madjozi Exposes Burna Boy
Sho Madjozi took to Twitter to explain what happened to the remix of Own It by UK rapper Stormzy, Ed Sheeran and Burna Boy which she was featured in. In a lengthy thread, Sho Madjozi explained that after she was nominated alongside Nigerian artist Burna Boy for the BET Best International Act, the musician asked for the song to be taken down immediately.
Sho Madjozi explained that she and Burna Boy were cool at the BETs and it seems her efforts for the past year have made her into a threat.
Sho Madjozi Hairstyles
Sho Madjozi is known for her colourful hairstyles. Like many children who grew up in the 90s, Sho Madjozi rocked Boom Shaka’s popular braid hairstyles. These days she is inspired by Fulani and Tuareg braids worn by indigenous African tribes.
Sho’s fans have not been sly in imitating her unique signature hairstyles clearly demonstrating their love for the Tsonga princess. Sho Madjozi also recently took to her YouTube a hair tutorial for school going kids.