Poet and radio show host MoAfrika wa Mokgathi is the co-founder and director of Hear My Voice.
The nonprofit organisation that uses poetry as a catalyst to address social issues. One issue she recently tackled was the lack of income for performing artists during the Covid-19 lockdown.
“My proudest moment has to be assisting 45 poets during Covid-19 through our project the Poetry Relief Fund,” she says.
Her birth name is Muriel Mokgathi-Mvubu, and her love of the arts was inspired by an uncle and grandfather. They played a key role in developing her style that mixes English and Sepedi.
She’s performed in China and Sweden and at numerous local festivals, and in venues such as Johannesburg’s Orbit Jazz Club, speaking to the music of a live band.
In 2019 she released her debut collection of poetry, My Tongue is a Rainbow, during the Azania to DC Poetry Tour and Cultural Exchange in Washington. The poems explore marginalised languages which are dying out, race, inequality and the abuse of women and children.
Every Sunday morning, MoAfrika wa Mokgathi produces and hosts The Jazz Sessions, a live three-hour programme on Transafrica 872 Radio. She was previously a content producer and presenter for Unisa Radio, and a producer and presenter at Ritevac TV.
In another role, she’s a director of Jazz Camp for Female Instrumentalists in Mamelodi, which teaches music, poetry, drama, dance and fine arts. She’s also on the board of the Association of Independent Record Companies.
For a long time she made the mistake of comparing herself to her peers, she says, which made her doubt her contributions. She’s put that behind her now, and urges other people to believe that their voices are worth hearing.