Ndebele singer aims high

PHILANTHROPIST: Satma winner Betty Tlou is building an arts and culture centre in her backyard. Picture: FRANCE NYAKA

South African Traditional Music Award-winning Ndebele singer Betty Tlou says she aims to take her music and culture to new heights.

She is from Buhlebuzile in Thembalethu near KwaMhlanga.

She says she is working hard on a plan to inspire and encourage young people to develop a passion for Ndebele music. Tlou, of the Buhlebethu Traditional Dance group, was speaking to The New Age recently after her latest album titled Utsotsi Simbona Ngani (How do we identify a thief) won as the best Ndebele album at the 2016 Satma Awards.

In 2011, she released her second album titled Bobaba Khulumani Lendaba Iphele (Fathers solve this problem) and scooped the Satma’s best Ndebele album category as well.

She is presently building a centre to be known as the Buhlebethu Arts and Culture Centre which is situated at the back yard of her home.

It has received sponsorship from the National Lottery.

The mother of one says the centre will play a vital role in grooming and assisting young people to build a career in Ndebele music and art for themselves.

These include the creation of traditional attire and beadwork.

She entered the music career 10 years ago after having been inspired by her husband Abram Masango who is also a musician.

Other albums behind her composition and writing are Bekezela Ekwendeni and Babelethi Ningasihloboki.

“Had it not been my tireless love and commitment to the practice of my culture and music, I would not have earned a good name in the music fraternity. I also thank my husband who still continues to encourage me to remain strong in the challenging industry.

“The second award will bring inspiration to me to improve and instil the passion in young people by providing them with the necessary training in my Ndebele culture,” Tlou said.

She is now working behind the scenes putting together her fifth album expected to be released next year.

“It will be late for me to release an album for 2017 due to other commitments behind my schedule.

“However, I am confident that the album to be released in 2018 will show an improvement and be nominated in the Satma’s best female album category,” Tlou said.