24/05/2017 06:17 SAST | Updated 24/05/2017 10:12 SAST

Candy Tsamandebele Wants Black Parents To Help Children Remember Their Roots

"I am on a mission to remind the black child of where she comes from."


Nominee for Best Traditional Album at this year's South African Music Awards (Samas), Candy Mosekedi Mokwena, says her album is aimed at reminding black people of their roots.

Mokwena, who is known affectionately as Candy Tsamandebele, said black people, especially the youth, often forgot their roots.

The "Tsamandebele" hitmaker told HuffPost SA that her heart breaks when young people don't recognise their extended families and traditions.

"I am a proud Molobedu woman and that identity comes across through my music. I love it when young black children speak the English language fluently, but at the same time, we need to teach them to speak and understand their home languages and the origins of those languages," Mokwena said.

According to Mokwena, the blame should be placed on parents for not teaching children about their roots.

She said a lot of parents would rather have their children play games on their phones than have them listen to a radio show that airs in their home language.

"I don't blame the children. At times we as parents need to take them by hand and lead them in the right direction. We need to be the ones who teach them where to go if they need to know about certain issues in our cultures. So before we judge the youth and label them, we need to do due diligence," said Mokwena.

She said a lot of work went into crafting her album, "Easy Come Easy Go", to serve the purpose of cultural reference for the Balobedu people.

"Our children need to hear us speaking to them in our home languages, regardless of where we live. I sing in Khilobedu and when I'm at home, I speak to my children in our language so that they do not forget where we come from. I am hoping that when people listen to my songs they will remember where they come from, their culture as well as traditions and practice them," she said.

Of her Sama nomination, Mokwena said she feels like a winner already.

"The nomination is one of the best things ever. The Samas got it right. My music is indigenous and for them to recognise what I am trying to do with my music means the world. With this album, I have gone deeper to remind people where we come from," she said.

The Kalawa Jazzmee artist wants to win at the Samas, but said she's already proud of her achievement with the new album.

"If I win I'll be the happiest woman ever and if I don't bring home the award I will reflect on the feedback, but it will still mean a lot that I was chosen as one of the nominees for this category, which I think is the foundation of who we are as a people," she told HuffPost SA.

Mokwena said she was sad when Hlaudi Motsoeneng's 90 percent local policy did not take off.

"Americans play their own music. Also, if you visit the Middle East, the music on the radio is in Arab. So why can't our broadcasters do the same for us? We work hard to put together albums for our people and then they don't play our music. It's a sad state of affairs. Home is where we should be celebrated.

Mokwena added that, "No one will play my song in New York and if the SABC does not play it, who will?"

To give back to her community of Ga-Sedibeng, Mokwena has launched a foundation through which she provides school shoes and food to children who hail from underprivileged homes.

She is also the presenter of a lifestyle show, Artist Rundown on Dstv's GauTV.

The Samas will take place this Saturday at the Sun City Superbowl and will be broadcast on SABC1 from 8pm.