Friends, fans and family gathered at O.R. Tambo International Airport's arrivals welcome area to receive recent BET Awards winner, Sjava, as he made his way back home from Los Angeles in the United States.
Fans and family of all ages could be heard chanting "Sjava! Sjava! Sjava!" after they got word that he was on his way out only for the chants to culminate in a roar of screams as he finally emerged.
The musician stopped to greet the fans and some members of his family before making his way to a press conference organized for him by Ambitious Entertainment and BET Africa, MC'd by his label mates, Londie London and Cici.
Sjava was joined by vice president for the BET channel, youth and music at Viacom International Media Networks, Monde Twala as well as a representative from the Erkhuruleni Metro and he took the lead, waxing lyrical about his experience at the awards, repeatedly referring back to the treatment he received at the Metro FM Awards for his traditional outfit and comparing it to how well he was received at the BET Awards.
He says his primary motivation for staying true to his roots is to be a beacon of hope for the people who want to make it into the industry but do not fit the existing glamourous, clean-cut archetype.
One of the things that put Sjava on the map is his feature on the Kendrick Lamar produced Black Panther album on a highly popular track titled Seasons alongside Mozzy and Reason. It also introduced fans from other countries to Sjava as an artist, thus leading them to go find more of his music.
The track has even made it's way on to Genius- formerly known as Rap Genius, an American lyric website that fans turn to in order to better understand their favourite rap songs, amongst other music.
Interestingly, Sjava advises fans not to take the annotation on the site seriously as they got the translation of his lyrics wrong despite reaching out to him and Saudi for the correct translations (which they sent).
"Those lyrics are not correct, and for me, as much as it's important that bayazi ukhuti sithini [they know what we're saying], for me that's not the main focus, the main focus is to listen to the whole thing and focus on how it makes you feel, that's how we make music at ATM," said Sjava.
When asked how important it is that local fans contribute to decoding the meanings behind South African and other African rappers songs on sites such as Genius, Sjava surprisingly said that that's not that important to him, especially since the meaning of certain Zulu phrases get diluted along the way when being translated into English.
"Amanye ama'lyrics, awa'cazeki because mang'ithi kuwe, 'ng'phuma le enzansi, kwafel ubala,' how would you say that in English?"
He says direct translations into English kill the true meaning and creativity of his intended message.
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Main image credit: instagram.com/sjava_atm