Updated: Apr 25, 2021
Busiswa’s work is the textbook example of what happens when poetry meets music: she is powerful, witty, and articulate musical interaction with words makes the result even more exciting.
Busiswa Gqulu was born in November of 1988 in Mthatha, South Africa. Throughout her childhood, reading and writing had become great passions of hers already, but it was only during adolescence that she met her one true love: poetry. In 2005, she joined the Basadzi Young Women's Poetry Collective, which is part of an organization that aims to propel South Africa towards a brighter future. Since then, she has been frequently performing poetry at a variety of events and festivals. Twice she headlined some of the biggest poetry festivals in Africa, alongside acclaimed poets from all over the world.⠀
In 2011, a friend introduced her to the South African music producer Sir Bubzin, who invited her to collaborate on the song "Syaphambana", adapting his poetry. The wonderful result of this collaboration: both were signed to Kalawa Record, a label that is known to be one of the major contributors to the development of the Kwaito music genre in South Africa. That same year, Busiswa was called upon by Oskido (CEO of the label) to record the song "My Name Is" produced by DJ Zinhle (renowned African DJ). This increased her public recognition and appraisal instantly, as the song was a hit from its release. She proceeded to position herself at the top of the music charts in Africa and consequently received several awards dedicated to the recognition of African music. This also made her live performances more and more recurrent and well-attended.
⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Since this igniting event, Busiswa's career has been on a big upswing. In 2019 she worked with Beyoncé on the curated collection album “The Lion King - The Gift”. More recently, in November, she released "Busiswa: An Unbreakable Story" at the Africa Rising International Film Festival (ARIFF). The film is a documentary telling the story of her life with a clear message of hope, power, and resistance.