AfriQueen Spha Mdlalose on Her Journey & Staying Grounded in Art

Spha Mdlalose, buzzes into the kunifrankstudio in Pardon Island, Cape Town, where we are shooting for the day. We’ve hand picked some incredibly interesting and special afribeings to profile, and jazz singer Spha was a definite on our list of need-to-know local talents.  She has just flown in from JHB and the bustle of the Golden City seems to have arrived with her. Her eyes are sparkling and she’s full of chatter!

“I need to sit down.” she says breathlessly. There are some stairs outside, and Spha is in her third trimester of pregnancy .

What strikes us most about Spha is her absolute earthiness. She is confident, yet incredibly down to earth. Having worked with the likes of Yvonne Chaka Chaka, Micasa, Oliver Mthukudzi, Neo Muyanga, Zwai Bala, Sibongile Khumalo, Kabomo, Afrotraction, Monique Bingham, Ladysmith Black Mambazo and other formidable artists in the music at such a young age, the list of achievements is extensive and impressive.

We chatted to Spha and got to find out a bit more about who she is:

Spha Mdlalose, stands in between two pieces of art adorning creative space, kunifrank studio.

Do you remember the moment you realised that jazz would play a great role in your life?

I think it was in high school when I was asked to sing for my school’s big band. There was something about the music that resonated with me on such a deep level.

Most memorable singing experience to date?

There are quite a few! The first one that jumps out at me is performing at the Greenpoint Stadium before a game. The stadium was full to capacity and the energy was electric. I was buzzing before I even started performing!

Another memorable performance happened last year during a gig that I was doing with Zoe Modiga and Titi Luzipo (together we’re called Brew). The gig was to honour the late, great, Busi Mhlongo. While I was singing one of Mam Busi’s songs, Thandiswa Mazwai jumped on stage and started singing with me. She gave me a huge hug and I just stood there completely gobsmacked!

What is still on the list? Who would you most like to perform or collaborate with as an artist?

World domination is still on the list! I’d still love to travel and take my music to as many places as possible. On the list for 2018 is definitely (and finally) releasing my debut album. In terms of future collaborations, I’d love to collaborate with Fatoumata Diawara, D’ Angelo, and Richard Bona, although the list is endless.

What is one piece of advice you will pass on to your son?

I really want to instill a sense of confidence in him from a young age. I want him to know that he can do whatever he puts his mind to. So perhaps it’s not so much advice but more of an attitude?

Where does your inspiration come from?

It comes from lived experience mostly. What I’m seeing, feeling, going through. Sometimes it’s also based on the lived experiences of those around me. Love is also a great sense of inspiration, the beauty of what we see around us.

What gives your life meaning ?

Gosh. My family and my loved ones. Being able to do what I love every day. I realise that not everyone enjoys that kind of life and that kind of freedom.

Spha Mdlalose says her afribeing power has helped her stay grounded and sincere in her art.

How can we support the local music industry ?

  1. Going to shows and not asking for comps and/or free entrance.
  2. Buying local.
  3. Spreading the word and promoting local music in any way that you can. This involves using social media platforms!

Who is your favourite local designer?

There are so many! For clothes I love Palesa Mokubung, Inga Madyibi, Asanda Madyibi, Rich Factory, Jane Sews and Anisa from Loin Cloth and Ashes. I love For Lornes and Pichulik  earring, as well as handbags by Urban Mosadi and Missibaba. Oh, and Melissa shoes!

How do you unwind?

I spend time alone, either watching a movie or going out for lunch. I also love checking out new vintage stores and charity shops.

Spha Mdlalose, believes connfidence is key. A behind the scenes sneak peek of Spha, looking
striking in front of Afribeing’s AFRICAISNOW banner by Ana Kuni.

How has your Afribeing power helped you on your journey?

It has helped me stay grounded and sincere in my art. It’s a great privilege to do what I do and to have the ability and the power to evoke emotion that makes people feel a certain way. This is something I don’t take for granted.

What do you feel can we do as Afribeings to encourage and support creativity in Africa?

I don’t know if there’s much more we can do but to support creatives by choosing to buy local/punt local and encourage those around us to do the same. Africa is buzzing with ideas and creative minds in all industries, so it’s all about how we can promote ourselves, and export what we have to the world!

Photography: Jane Louise
Creative Direction: Lindi Hingston and Liza Weschta
Afribeing: Spha Mdlalose
Wardrobe: Inga Madyibi dress and Iyana Styling dress





Meet the Real Siv Ngesi and His AfriQueen Mother Jacqueline

Jacqueline and Siv Ngesi

It’s true that our parents have a powerful influence on us as children and, a big part of how we build resilience as adults, is down to how we are reared. Afribeing caught up with celebrity Siv Ngesi and his mom Jacqueline Ngesi at kunifrank studios to talk about life. Their story inspired us very much so we hope it inspires you too.  

We have all heard of Mr Siv Ngesi. Celebrity Actor who has had 3 SAFTA nominations, Infleuncer, MC, Motivational Speaker, Comedian and Woman Magnet, but have you met the women who kept Siv in clean underwear until manhood. The woman who raised Siv single handedly, and always brought food to the table. The woman who took Siv to all his auditions and kept this message reinforced: “…ONE DAY…ONE DAY MY SON. YOU ARE GOING TO GET IT.”  

 Meet Jacqueline NgesiSiv’s Sunflower and African Queen. Jacqueline originally comes from Umtata, Transkei (Viedgiesville to be exact). She is big into culture and cooking. Everything we eat is cooked at home and we still thank our ancestors and drink mqombothi,” she says. Mgombothi is traditional Xhosa BeerSivs clan name is Mgcina and although he was born and bred in Cape Town, his culture and heritage are still very important to him. It is part of who he is.”  says Jacqueline.

Jacqueline lives in Gugulethu now – a few blocks from Mazoli’sShe has 2 daughters and Siv. 

We asked Jacqueline how she managed to do it all. Raise a family, educate herself and stay positive and her answer to this was: “I was brought up by a strong women (my mom) , she encouraged me, and kept me strong and resilient. My mother was ALWAYS SO BRAVE. She instilled her strength in me and I was able to pass this on to my own children and be a success in my own life.”

In 1989 she was sponsored to go to the UK to help start a teacher’s centre. One of Siv’s favourite childhood memories is visiting his mom in Bristol when he was about 6 and his mom was doing her masters, and working on the side.  He remembers going up to the sky and looking out the aeroplane window and thinking: “Where is this Jesus guy?”.

Siv says he grew up in a househould being told he could do anything he wanted to. “My mom’s favourite saying is what you put in is what you get out. If you fail, keep going. ” says Siv.

“My mom always made it look easier than it was. We didn’t have much, but my mom made it happen and even though she was a single mother she was always able to bring food to the table” says Siv. Siv landed his first role at 9 years old in the musical Les Misérables, which featured on Mnet. 

“I am living my childhood dream, I wanted to be an entertainer and travel the world and get paid for it.
My life is not kak.”

Siv says: “The best thing about being successful in my career is being able to help my mom when she needs stuff. It makes me feel good.”

Jacky says: Happiness is being with Siv and my family. I value them all and everytime I see them I enjoy every moment. I almost lost my life once I have a scar on my chest to show for it. Life can be taken just like that.

“Siv has taught me a lot about life.. he LOVES everyone and never judges. Siv allows me to enjoy my life he encourages me to travel more. I have just been on a trip to UK and Germany. I appreciate him so much. Siv is BIG. He is generous and so kind. Everyone looks up to him.” says Jacki.

Jacki’s message to all women reading this: “Get your education! Don’t allow anyone to be abuse you emotionally or physically. You are in charge of your own life. Stand up for yourself, believe in yourself, live your dream and support your children in everything they do .”

Siv’s message to all Afribeings reading this is: “It’s time that Africa realizes we don’t need Europe as much as we think we do. Leave the crayfish mentality behind. Help each other! No one has ever become poor from giving.”

We asked Siv who he see’s when he looks in the mirror: “When I look at myself in the mirror I still see someone who can be better…This year I want to help more lives!” he says.

We all want to be like you Jacqueline and Siv Ngesi. Thank you for being examples of good humans and for inspiring us to have courage to take charge of our own lives and make a success of it.

#supermansiv #inspiringhuman #100%african #proudlyafrican #africanforlife

Location: Kuni Frank Studios Paarden Eiland @kunifrank
Creative Direction: Lindi Hingston and Liza Weschta
Photographer: Jane Prinsloo @Janelouisephotolove
Hair and Makeup: Chantal Jacobsen @chantaljacobsen0808_ and Karen Dladla @kari.d_mua
Fashion Styling: Nozi @nonishakur
Graffiti art wall: Ana Kuni @ana_kuni

Siv Ngesi @iamsivn
Jacqueline Ngesi

Siv is wearing: @Klipajeans shirt and his own jeans
Jacqueline is wearing: @mobu_by_melo

A little bit about the @mobu_by_melo womens plus size fashion brand. Melo Mosase is plus size fashion designer from Qwaqwa living in Johannesburg. Her aim is to challenge the current state of fashion in our country. Her aim is to ensure that her clothing makes plus size women feel beautiful and sexy. Melo says: “Plus size clothing industry the same amount of creative effort as any design in the industry. We need this to fight the ab-normalization of African bodies to show future generations that there’s nothing wrong with us and our bodies. We are beautiful just the way we are and that we will not conform to a westernized definition of us.”







30 preparation tips to prepare you for Day Zero!

Day Zero has been moved forward to the 12th of April 2018.  Below we have listed 30 preparation tips to help you prepare for Day Zero.

1. Day Zero is upon us Afribeings and its time to get into survival mode. Stock up on bottled water exclusively for drinking while the water stations figure themselves out, but please remember to RECYCLE or REPURPOSE your plastic water bottles. Alternatively research mountain spring water that can be delivered.
2. Stock up on baby wipes their uses will be endless when you do not have access to running water.
3. Use Dry shampoo or baby powder to prolong the time between washes. We heard March Anthony Refreshing Coconut clear dry shampoo is the best available from Dischem.
4. Invest in Wee Pong spray (a flush alternative) and alternative spray that contains microbes that break down urine and digest the malodorous ammonia, neutralising sulphur keeping your loo fresh and clean, plus it is 100% eco friendly and safe for humans, plants and pets. You can expect to pay R100 for a 250ml. 5. Make a solution of vinegar and water or stay soft and water to spray clothes and hang clothes to air
6. Paper plates are not very eco-friendly. However if you are braaing use the used paper plates instead of washing dishes or as an alternative make up a spray bottle with rinse free dish soap and water, and wipe down lightly dirtied dishes with that.
7. Invest in water purification solutions for the rain water we are able to catch. We love Kuro-bo 100% Natural Charcoal Water Filter, which will remove harmful impurities from water, add essential minerals and make it taste better.
8. Make sure you water to wash your fruit and vegetables well, With the listeriosis outbreak we can’t afford not to wash our fresh produce! We love Earthsap Fruit and Vegetable Wash, because it is 300% more effective than water to remove toxins and chemicals and its not harmful to our earth.
9. Start stocking your freezer with freezer meals and stock up on non-perishables!
10. Hand sanitiser is a must. In the car, in the your handbag, in the kitchen, in your workspace. We love Charlotte Rhys waterless hand sanitiser and their hand creams are great too!
11. Bicarb and vinegar are amazing cleaning supplies that don’t destroy water for grey use. So stock up!
12. Prepare for dodgy tummies. Make sure you have: Rehydrate, Medizine, Immodium, Buscopan, Probiotics and extra toilet paper on hand.
13. Have a sponge bath with a small bucket and sponge or take more swims in the sea!

14. Get a fire extinguisher for obvious reasons
15. If your’e not flushing your wee, throw the toilet paper away in a separate lined bin that’s cleaned daily to avoid your toilet system blocking up.
16. Baking soda can also control toilet paper odours if throwing toilet paper away.
17. When flushing with grey water. Fill the toilet cistern with water rather than pour the water into toilet.. Use vinegar in the toilet and drains to help with any odours and bacteria.
18. Clean with microfibre cloths or rags as sponges become unsanitary. It is easier to clean cloths and hang up immediately to delay smelling.
19. Eat straight from the braai! It always tastes better that way anyway and no pots or pans to wash.
20. Use apple cider vinegar to naturally deodorize your armpits and go without showering.
21. Wear breathable 100% cotton fabric to avoid odours developing from sweat and bacteria.
22. Ladies, extend underwear life by wearing panty liners.
23. Instead of washing dishes in the sink. Wash and rinse in buckets so you can reuse dirty water in the toilet or for watering plants. .
24. Vinegar can also be used for wiping and cleaning, with paper towels, without having to rinse down counters.
25. Where possible, use organic or biodegradable materials to minimise environmental waste. Please also be mindful of your plastic usage

26. Do everything you can do to prevent further damage.

27. PRAY. The power of positivity and collective consciousness is an undeniable force, which has been proven to work time and time again.

28. Educate your friends and family if you see they are not saving. Your families life depends on it.

29. Practice using 50 litres a day per person now! Wash less, wear less and …


Earth has always been dependent on water for survival, and today water holds the key to survival in the future too. Now more than ever we need to learn to respect and preserve water. We all need to stand together and help each other. Please do your part to save water NOW!

You can start by sharing this list with your friends to show you care!


Africa is Now

Siv Ngesi Africa is now

Siv Ngesi says: “Afribeings, reach for the stars the sky is the limit!”

We believe that Africa is the heartbeat of the World. Last year saw the emergence of a creative Africa that was brought into focus through a number of landmark buildings, artists and events, signaling the world has noticed us and Africa has finally taken its rightful place on the map of some ground breaking talent.

Towards the end of 2017 Afribeing gathered a group of super talented African influencers at art studio and creative hub KuniFrank studios in Paarden Eiland, to celebrate each persons African power and talk about the power of being African NOW as our identity continues to inspire the world.

Our continent is rich with undeniably strong talent and our Afribeing mission is to find these Afribeings, expose them, and share their stories. We hope that this will inspire you to unleash your own Afribeing power, to dream big and more importantly make your dreams come to life.

Everyone goes through hard times, we all fail, but these are the times that make us stronger, smarter, kinder, and we continue to rise, adjust our crowns and move forward with a new found wisdom. We each have our own innate power. We call it Afribeing power. It’s natural, intrinsic, unlearned and untaught. We should nurture and build on these strengths. At Afribeing we believe that you give life to what you give energy too.

celebrate african power and identity

Jade Khristie an inspiring human who believes that people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who do.

As creatives and Africans we’ve had to be both brave and strong. Courage, resilience and the will to succeed is how we’ll continue to develop lasting confidence in ourselves. Being consistently positive is also an Afribeing superpower.

Our wish for 2018 is that we recognize the greatness in ourselves and each other. Great things happen when humans collaborate and help one another. Together we are stronger. Lets empower each other.

Ubuntu: I am what I am, because of who we are.

Linda Kaoma Project Manager in the Arts gives us an A for AfribeingLinda Kaoma Project Manager in the Arts gives us an A for Afribeing

What’s Your Afribeing Power?

Below we asked our friends and influencers to think of one or two words which represent their powerful self. The powerful self that got them to where they are today:


Celebrity Siv Ngesi says confidence has empowered his success

Celebrity, Siv Ngesi, says CONFIDENCE has empowered him to become a success.


Liza Weschta Co-founder Afribeing says her power is unity

Afribeing Co-Founder, Liza Weschta, believes in unity and so bringing people together is her undeniable strength.


Jazz Singer Spha Mdlalose loves making people feel through her music

Jazz Singer, Spha Mdlalose, loves MAKING PEOPLE feel through her music.


Jade Khristie CEO of Low Impact Living says Pioneering Change is what keeps her motivated and strong in lifeJade Khristie, CEO of Low Impact Living, says Pioneering Change is what keeps her motivated and strong in life.


Zanela, mother of Siv Ngesi, says BEING ASSERTIVE has been her super powerZanela Ngesi, Siv’s mom, says BEING ASSERTIVE has been her super power.


Co-Founder of Afribeing, Lindi Hingston standing in front of Ana Kuni curated graffiti wall Africa is NowCo-Founder of Afribeing, Lindi Hingston, standing in front of Afribeing’s curated graffiti wall by Ana Kuni.


Kitty Van Jangles recycles car tyres and makes tables he says staying focused keeps him strong. Kitty Van Jangles, who recycles car tyres and makes tables, says staying focused keeps him strong.


Make your Mamma and your Mamma Africa proud, stand tall and wear your Afribeing crown, honour your Afribeing power and make your mark in this crazy world. Decide today who you will become and how you want to live your life. And remember … NO ONE IS YOU AND THAT IS YOUR POWER!

Stay tuned to our platform for individual profiles with each of these Afribeings.

Location: Kuni Frank Studios Paarden Eiland @kunifrank
Creative Direction: Lindi Hingston and Liza Weschta
Photographer: Jane Prinsloo @janelouisephotolove
Hair and Makeup: Chantal Jacobsen @chantaljacobsen0808_ and Karen Dladla @kari.d_mua
Fashion Styling: Nozi @nonishakur
Graffiti art wall: Ana Kuni @ana_kuni

Siv @iamsiv
Spha Mdlalose @sphamdlalose
Linda Kaoma @lindakaoma
Lindi Hingston and Liza Weschta
@Jade Kristie at @lowimpactliving

Jade is wearing: @iyanastyling top and @ntombobom skirt
Siv is wearing: @Klipajeans shirt
Spha is wearing: @ingamadyibi dress and @iyanastyling dress
Lindi is wearing: @iyanastyling
Liza is wearing: @richfactory
Linda is wearing: Models own
Zanela is wearing: Stylists own



Light Waves: A Story of Single Fin Women Surfers Around the World

Light Waves by Saskia Koerner seeks to explore and celebrate the untold story of female surfing in iconic surf spots around the world. “I have been immersed in the culture my entire life and heritage and nostalgia are a strong force behind my project.” says Saskia. Celebrating the feminine spirit of women surfers whose lives are closely interwoven with their passion for surfing single fin boards.

Saskia Koerner photographer light waves

Saskia has been inspired by the elegance of single fin female surfers. “Single fins are where we came from in surfing and this retro trend has brought a new wave of single fin riders with more and more women gracing the line-ups. The elegance of the female form combined with the single fin surfboard results in a movement on the water that is truly quite mesmerising” she says.

Starting her project in 2013 while completing her Bachelor of Fine Arts at Brooks Institute of Photography in Santa Barbara, California, Saskia was intruged by the incredible women she met in the water while surfing the iconic right hand point break Rincon, the Queen of the Coast. “I started capturing them with an old 8 x10 large format analog camera. After graduating I went on to work in New York City but did not get to surf much. I was however greatly compensated by working with Nan Goldin and the legendary Mary Ellen Mark.” says Saskia.

Light waves photography exhibition

In 2016 Saskia went back to her old local break in Bali and decided to continue capturing the single fin movement — documenting the diversity of women that surf there. All of her portraits are taken at sunrise and sunset before or after a surf session, capturing the women in a natural and informal mood.

After showing Light Waves Batu Bolong at the Deus Gallery in Canggu Saskia headed to the small of Byron Bay in Australia which stole her heart years ago. Inspired by the strong feminine energy of the area, and its famous reputation for talented surf lady sliders Saskia knew she needed to return.

Light waves batu bolong photography exhibition Saskia Koerner

Light Waves Byron Bay was part of the Byron Bay Surf Festival in February 2017 with a warm welcome and great enthusiasm from the local surf community. Afterwards she ventured on to New Zealand and searched for the single fin women there

But it was South Africa that was calling her to come home, to tap into her roots of the place where she was born and raised. Saskia is currently busy capturing the lady sliders along the coast from Cape Town to Jeffreys Bay and up to Durban.

The local response and enthusiasm for Light Waves South Africa has been incredible and will be a part of the Wavescape Surf & Ocean Conservation Festival in Cape Town at the end of 2017.

Slowly surfing her way around the world Saskia is aiming to document the mix of single fin women everywhere in places such as Malibu, Hawaii and Biarritz but also more unknown spots like Jamaica, Papua New Guinea, Russia, China and Japan showcasing that all types of women of all ages surf with the same strong passion.

“My experience so far has been that my work is raising issues about image and gender that I had not anticipated. I have always been acutely aware of the issues regarding gender inequality, marginalization and sexualization of women in the surfing world. Maybe in my subconscious these issues made me portray this series in the most natural and informal manner to show that we are all just women of all shapes and sizes and its about our passion for the ocean and riding waves and not looking sexy as they want you to in the magazines.” comments Saskia.

Take a look at Danielle Davenport’s video on Saskia’s Light Waves project:

“Without providing any definite answers I think my work does raise questions about attitudes towards image and gender and can be viewed on different levels. However, I don’t think my portraits are limited by that and I hope they transcend, go beyond and provide a space for debate, acceptance and growth.” she says.

Don’t miss Saskia’s upcoming Light Waves Exhibition at the Wavescape Surf & Ocean Conservation Festival in Cape Town on November 30th at the Red Bull Gallery.

To find out more about Saskia and her surfing journey around the world visit her website

Photography: Saskia Koerner
Video: Danielle Davenport