Sho Madjozi

Sho Madjozi
Sho Madjozi March 2019.png
Sho Madjozi performing at an Edgars Fashion Show in March 2019
Background information
Birth nameMaya Christinah Xichavo Wegerif
Also known asMayaThePoet[1]
Born (1992-05-09) 9 May 1992 (age 30)
Limpopo, South Africa

Maya Christinah Xichavo Wegerif (born 9 May 1992), known professionally as Sho Madjozi (/ʃɒˈmɑːdjɔːrzɪ/ shoh-mah-JOH-zee), is a South African rapper, singer, songwriter, actress and poet.[1] Madjozi incorporates the Tsonga culture through her music and public image.[3] In 2019, Madjozi was named as one of Forbes Africa's 30 Under 30 for her contribution in the music and entertainment sector.[4]

Life and career

1992–2016: Early life and beginnings

Madjozi was born on 9 May 1992 in Shirley Village, Elim, Limpopo, the daughter of Rosemary Phaweni and Marc Wegerif who ran a non-governmental organisation which was made to assist people with their land claims. Her mother is of African descent while her father is of European descent.[5] After her parents divorced at an early age, she was mainly brought up by her mother. Madjozi has half-sisters from both her mother's and father's sides. As her father, Marc Wegerif, travelled regularly in particular regions of the continent, Madjozi had opportunities to travel with her father – she followed him to Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, where he worked for the charitable organisation Oxfam while she was a teenager.[6] She also spent some time selling clothes at markets in Senegal during 2016 to provide for family.[7]

After graduating high school at the International School of Tanganyika in Tanzania, Madjozi was offered a scholarship to Mount Holyoke College in South Hadley, Massachusetts, US, to study creative writing and African studies. While in the US, she started writing poems under the pen name of MayaThePoet.[8] The poems were about politics, identity and race. Madjozi returned to South Africa, where she took up a fellowship in studying at the University of South Africa, Johannesburg, and also planned songwriting for other local artists.[9] She began rapping and composing music under her stage name "Sho Madjozi". Madjozi rose to fame after her collaboration with rapper Okmalumkoolkat on the track "Ngiyashisa Bhe" and the hit single "Gqi".[10][11]

2017–present: Limpopo Champions League

In April 2017, Madjozi made her television appearance as one of the casts of Mzansi Magic drama telenovela Isithembiso. She played Tsakane Mboweni – a character passionately involved in student politics – for the inaugural season.[12]

Madjozi released her debut single, "Dumi HiPhone", featuring disc jockey duo PS DJz, on 28 April 2017, which was well received by the public.[citation needed] The song didn't make it to the final track listing on Madjozi's debut album. She also appeared on DJ Maphorisa BlaqBoy Music Presents Gqom Wave (2017), where she was featured on the track "Probleme".[13] On 9 March 2018, she released the lead single "Huku" from her debut album.[14] On 27 June 2018, Trace Urban South Africa announced their partnership with Madjozi, making her the ambassador for their mobile pre-paid provider TRACE Mobile.[15] In August, Madjozi alongside singer Chris Martin announced and explained how the entry works of the Global Citizen Festival: Mandela 100, through a YouTube video uploaded by Global Citizen. Later on 2 December 2018, Sho Madjozi performed at the Global Citizen Festival: Mandela 100, which was headlined by Beyonce and Jay-Z.[16]

Limpopo Champions League, Madjozi's debut studio album, was released on 14 December 2018.[17] The album was also supported by the 5-minute short-film Trickshot composed by several tracks from the album.[18] On 1 June 2019, Madjozi earned two wins at the 25th edition of South African Music Awards for Newcomer of the Year and for Best Female Album. She also received nominees for categories: Best Music Video for "Huku" and for Best Kwaito, Gqom & AmaPiano Album for Limpopo Champions League.[19] As for 23 June 2019, Madjozi received a BET Award for Best New International Act at the BET Awards 2019.[20]

In July 2019, Madjozi was named by the Forbes magazine amongst the 30 under 30 creatives category list for his contribution to the music and entertainment sector,[21] the list featured other young African creatives like Nigerian musician Burna Boy, South African actress, TV and radio personality Thando Thabethe, Ghanaian contemporary artist Joseph Awuah-Darko, also known as Okuntakinte and Kenyan film director, producer and screenwriter Njue Kevin.[22][23]

On 15 August 2019, Madjozi was featured on the global music platform COLORS, where she performed her song "John Cena" commonly named and inspired by professional wrestler John Cena.[24][25] The gqom-genre song trended on regions, mainly in South Africa as it reached two-million views, which is a favourable success for the [COLOURS] music platform.[26] Madjozi was praised for the song by many notable people, including rapper Missy Elliott, who retweeted her video on her Twitter page, whilst professional wrestler John Cena posted Madjozi on his Instagram account.[27][28] She later released "John Cena" as an official single on 27 September 2019.[29] On 7 November 2019, Madjozi appeared on The Kelly Clarkson Show to talk about the song. While performing as a guest, John Cena came from backstage to surprise her. The video of her reaction went viral, as she said it was a dream of hers to meet Cena himself.

At 4th ceremony of Mzansi Kwaito and House Music Awards, she won Best Gqom Artist award.[30]

On 27 November 2020, Madjozi released her first mixtape titled What a Life, featuring some local talents who hail from her home province in Limpopo, including acts such as Makhadzi and the Xitsonga traditional music legend Dr Thomas Chauke. The mixtape is one of the notable releases by Madjozi that she has targeted mostly towards boosting her local market and to promote popular artists from her Xitsonga culture, but the album has such tracks that can penetrate the international market with a few gqom bangers and experimental sounds.[31]

Public image

Madjozi uses a Tsonga signature style concerning her music and fashion sense. Being unapologetically proud of her culture, Tsonga, she commonly plays with the traditional wear. Madjozi usually performs the indigenous xibelani dance where she wears a skirt called a tinguvu around her waist, then shakes the waist which creates attentiveness on her performances.[32][33] Besides her culture-influenced style, Madjozi dismisses a colourful image with many elements attached. Superbalist writer Kenny Morifi-Winslow added, "I think there is an interesting transfer of energy when our favorite parts of public figures become the things that we hid from ourselves or tried to change", commending Madjozi.[34]

In addition to her native Tsonga, Madjozi is also fluent in Swahili language. Her songs incorporate both languages as well as English hence appealing to a wider audience.


"My braids represent Afro futurism. The question is: what would a globalised young African be if she was not interrupted by the horror of colonialism and apartheid? My braids are the answer."

—Madjozi on her appealing hairstyles[35]

Madjozi is well known for her hairstyles influenced by Fulani and Tuareg women.[36] The ethic hairstyles influenced girls and women which became a trend mainly from her breakthrough year (2016) in South Africa and other regions. She also took inspiration from the music group Boom Shaka female vocalists, Thembi Seete and the late Lebo Mathosa, and also singer Thandiswa Mazwai's iconic braids.[37]

Awards and nominations

Year Award Ceremony Prize Work/Recipient Result
2019 South African Music Awards Female Artist of the Year[38] Limpopo Champions League Won
Best Newcomer Herself Won
Best Music Video "Huku" Nominated
Best Kwaito, Gqom or Amapiano Album Limpopo Champions League Nominated
AFRIMA[39] Best Newcomer Herself Nominated
Best Female Southern Africa Herself Nominated
AFRIMA Video of The Year "Idhom" Nominated
BET Awards Best New International Act[40] Herself Won
African Talent Awards[41] Best African Song of the Year "John Cena" Nominated
2019 4th Mzansi Kwaito and House Music Awards[42] Best Gqom Artist Herself Won
2020 BET Awards Best International Act Herself Nominated
Nickelodeon Kids' Choice Awards Favorite Global Music Star Herself Nominated
Favorite Star (Africa)[43] Won
2020 2020 African Entertainment Awards USA Best Female Artist [44] Herself Nominated
Best Hip hop/Rap Herself Nominated
2021 South African Music Award[45] Female Artist of the Year What A Life Won
Best Traditional Music Album Won
MTV Africa Music Award Best Female Act[46] Herself Pending


Studio album

Title Album details
Limpopo Champions League
  • Released: 14 December 2018
  • Label: Flourish and Multiply
  • Formats: CD, digital download


Title Details Certifications Album
"Dumi HiPhone"
(with PS DJz)
  • Released: 28 April 2017
  • Format: Digital download
Non-album single
  • Released: 9 March 2018
  • Format: Digital download
Limpopo Champions League
"Wakanda Forever"[49]
  • Released: 30 November 2018
  • Format: Digital download
  • Released: 2 June 2019
  • Format: Digital download
"John Cena"[51]
  • Released: 27 September 2019
  • Format: Digital download
Non-album single
  • Released: 16 December 2019
  • Format: Digital download
Limpopo Champions League

Promotional singles

Title Details Album
"Don't Tell Me What To Do"[53]
  • Format: Digital download
Limpopo Champions League


  1. ^ a b "Sho Madjozi Biography". Retrieved 5 May 2018.
  2. ^ "Sho Madjozi signs with international Epic Records". 30 June 2020. Retrieved 30 June 2020.
  3. ^ "Meet Sho Madjozi, the Gqom Pop Star Making Pan-African Music". Paper. 3 April 2019. Retrieved 30 June 2020.
  4. ^ Mwendera, Karen (1 July 2019). "#30Under30: Creatives Category 2019". Forbes Africa. Retrieved 15 January 2021.
  5. ^ "5 Interesting Facts About Sho Madjozi!". Peoples Magazine.
  6. ^ "Sho Madjozi's musical lineage is larger than large". Mail & Guardian.
  7. ^ Makgalemele, Thembisile (26 May 2018). "Sho Majozi: 'I used to sell clothes at a market in Senegal to make ends meet '". Channel 24. Retrieved 18 December 2019.
  8. ^ Dee, Christa. "Maya the Poet becomes Sho Madjozi: Tsonga rap and the preservation of home". Bubble Gum Club.
  9. ^ Tseliso Monaheng. "Sho Madjozi is manifesting her pan-African dreams". The Fader. Retrieved 12 March 2019.
  10. ^ "Okmalumkoolkat – Ngiyashisa Bhe! Ft. Sho Madjozi Lyrics & Video". AMDb.
  11. ^ "New Release: Okmalumkoolkat – Gqi". SA Hip Hop Mag.
  12. ^ "Sho Jadjozi Gets TV Role!". Daily Sun.
  13. ^ "Probleme (feat. Sho Madjozi & DJ Hu Nose) – DJ Maphorisa Song". BBC.
  14. ^ "Sho Madjozi Finally Drops New Single, Huku".
  15. ^ "Watch the Full Trace Mobile & Sho Madjozi partnership launch". Zkhipani.
  16. ^ Hlalethwa, Zaza (4 December 2018). "Global Citizen: Preaching the good news according to Madiba". Mail & Guardian. Retrieved 5 December 2018.
  17. ^ Sabelo Mkabela (14 December 2018). "Listen to Sho Madjozi's Debut Album 'Limpopo Champions League' Featuring Kwesta, pH, Makwa, Ycee and More". Okay Africa. Retrieved 5 February 2019.
  18. ^ "Sho Madjozi releases Trickshot film for Valentine's Day". Bona Magazine.
  19. ^ "Sho Madjozi makes her mark at #SAMA25". TimesLIVE.
  20. ^ "BET Awards 2019: Sho Madjozi wins big, complete winners list". The South African.
  21. ^ Mwendera, Karen (1 July 2019). "#30Under30: Creatives Category 2019". Forbes Africa. Retrieved 15 January 2021.
  22. ^ "PIC: Boity shows off her Forbes 30 under 30 certificate: "I'm framing this"". Drum. Retrieved 15 January 2021.
  23. ^ Goldman, Lauren (28 August 2019). "Inclusion for all - The women on Forbes Africa 30 Under 30 list". Vodacom Now!. Retrieved 15 January 2021.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  24. ^ "Sho Madjozi is the Next Artist on International Platform 'COLORS' – Cosmopolitan". Cosmopolitan.
  25. ^ "WATCH: Sho Madjozi's electric COLORS performance". Bona Magazine.
  26. ^ "Sho Madjozi's 'John Cena' hits two million views on YouTube in just two weeks". TimesLIVE.
  27. ^ "Here's what John Cena thinks of Sho Madjozi after she named a track after him". TimesLIVE.
  28. ^ Murugi Gichovi. "South African BET award winner Sho Madjozi impresses Kenyans with yet another Swahili rap song". Capital FM.
  29. ^ "Sho Madjozi officially drops viral hit 'John Cena' and shares inspo behind it". 702.
  30. ^ "The Mzansi Kwaito and House Music Awards (MKHMA) Winner's announced | SA Music News Magazine". SA Music News Magazine. 5 December 2019.
  31. ^ "Madjozi Unveils Cover and Tracklist for What a Life Mixtape".
  32. ^ "Sho Madjozi and her unique style sum up everything that's right about SA right now". W24.
  33. ^ "Sho Madjozi on Pitch Black Afro, bringing the Xibelani to the club, and more in First Times video". The Fader.
  34. ^ "Sho Madjozi: Heritage In The Here & Now". IIIRD Citizen.
  35. ^ Browning-de Villiers, Sarah (20 March 2019). "#HERitage: Sho Madjozi on Braids". Cosmopolitan. Retrieved 5 July 2013.
  36. ^ "Tsonga Rapper Sho Madjozi Is the Radical New Poster Child for Pan-African Pride". Vogue.
  37. ^ "Sho Madjozi on all things hair and braids". W24.
  38. ^ "Sho Madjozi makes her mark at #SAMA25". TimesLIVE. Retrieved 26 June 2019.
  39. ^ Damola, Durosomo (7 August 2019). "Here are the 2019 AFRIMA Nominees". OkayAfrica. Retrieved 5 September 2019.
  40. ^ "From the Village to a Superstar: Sho Madjozi Wins BET Award". Retrieved 24 June 2019.
  41. ^ "Best African song of the year – African Talents Awards" (in French). Retrieved 16 December 2019.
  42. ^ Reporter, Sun (2 December 2019). "Mzansi Kwaito and House Music Awards Winners!". Daily Sun.
  43. ^ "Sho Madjozi Wins 'Favorite African Star' at 2020 Nickelodeon Kids' Choice Awards". OkayAfrica. 6 May 2020. Retrieved 16 June 2021.
  44. ^ Ilado, Lucy (22 December 2020). "Africa Entertainment Awards USA 2020: All the winners". Music In Africa.
  45. ^ "Here's The Lowdown On The 2021 South African Music Awards Nominees List". OkayAfrica. 21 May 2021. Retrieved 16 June 2021.
  46. ^ "Here Are the 2021 MTV Africa Music Awards Nominees". OkayAfrica. 11 December 2020. Retrieved 16 June 2021.
  47. ^ "Huku – Single by Sho Madjozi". Apple Music. Retrieved 8 September 2019.
  48. ^ a b Sho Madjozi (confirmed account) [@ShoMadjozi] (14 December 2019). "This album has produced 1 platinum single (Huku), 1 gold single (Wakanda), 2 SAMA Awards and 1 BET Award. It has put me on stages around the globe and got me on the covers Elle, Cosmopolitan, Bona etc. Happy birthday Limpopo Champions League 🎉" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  49. ^ "Sho Jadjozi – "Wakanda Forever" FT. YCEE". African Muzik Magazine. Retrieved 8 September 2019.
  50. ^ "This is the heartbreak that inspired Sho Madjozi's new song". Channel24. Retrieved 8 September 2019.
  51. ^ "Sho Madjozi officially drops viral hit 'John Cena' and shares inspo behind it". Cape Talk.
  52. ^ "Sho Madjozi 'Kona'". OkayAfrica.
  53. ^ "Limpopo Champions League by Sho Madjozi". Apple Music.