Reflections

Sing Me (3)

By Ayanda Xaba, South Africa:

I finished my Degree in Music, Drama and Performing from University of KwaZulu-Natal and went to Cape Town where I joined a group of professional choristers. I remember my audition so well; I went there looking like a mad woman. A friend had informed me about the audition an hour before it started. I was painting in my flat so I didn’t have time to change, or prepare any song. The judges asked me to sing any song by Sarah Brightman and I had to think fast. I think it’s safe to say that my ancestors were with me because I opened my mouth and an amazing melody came out. I sang ‘deliver me’ straight from the heart, it is my favourite song by her anyway. The judges stopped me before I could even finish the piece, and told me I’ve made it into the group.

I was beyond happy and the three years that followed that moment were bliss. We were given three-year contracts and when mine ended I decided to undertake on a solo career. Even that was explosive; in the first year I received amazing support, sponsorships and a world tour. It’s every chorister’s dream to go to UK or Italy and I had the privilege to do so, and even won an award for my fine soprano.

Music life is great right? I thought so too until I came back home late last year. It felt as if people forgot me while I was away. I organised a home coming event in Port Elizabeth, my home city, expecting the same reception I got when I launched my solo career but only a few people came. The event went well either way but that was officially my last time performing on my own show. I got an invitation to perform in the National Choral Music Awards in Durban, imagine my joy – Stella was getting her groove back. That night was breathtaking and I was ready for more, but more that never came.

I’ve been told that the best way to figure things out is to go back to your roots; so I packed my bags and moved to PE. I went to my grandparents house in Pedi, but I couldn’t get any inspiration for either paint or music. My grandmother made me sing at the church choir, imagine the torture. I really hated it at first but I eventually enjoyed it, especially the part where I taught music to the church youth. As much as I enjoyed that, I was still not making any money, so I decided to join my sister in Johannesburg and see what it can give me. I was already tired of my mother telling me I should’ve listened to her and studied teaching, I would be a teacher now and not an unemployed 26 year old former chorister. I never received any formal training for painting, just a couple of short courses because I love it and I initially didn’t want to sell any of my paintings. Being home and broke hit me hard and I had to take some and sell, I was fortunate to get buyers in PE and that’s how I saved up money for the trip to Johannesburg.

I’ve always been the cautious type in relationships; get to know the guy well first before getting into a relationship with him. With Zain it was different; yes, I saw him around campus but I knew nothing about him except that he is from somewhere in Mpumalanga. He was a fresh breath of air; he literally breezed into my life and I welcomed him with open arms. The relationship was faster than the stroke of lightning and I liked that. Two days after the first date we got intimate. There was nothing in me that thought twice about that, I had promised myself to live in the moment and forget about life’s stupid rules. The adrenaline was amazing, like I just set off from a bungee jump – not knowing how far the fall is.

Everything was out in the open right from the beginning; this isn’t love it’s just fun – and fun we had! From the first date we saw each other everyday, for the first week. I think I had already gotten tired of the fun because I decided to take off to meet an ex without telling him. I had spent too much time with Zain and forgot my to-do-list, the list I was memorizing when I arrived in Soweto. So it was Vilakazi Street with the ex and later in the week it was Soweto theatre alone. This is the issue Zain refused to understand – I was too used to being alone and doing things on my own. He insisted that he accompany me even if it means dropping me off and fetching me later – I got sick of it.

He started being insecure and possessive. Zain seemed to have forgotten what we had (or rather have) isn’t a relationship, it was supposed to be just fun! Imagine the tantrums he threw after learning that I went to meet an ex at Vilakazi Street. That guy – the ex – owed me lunch, and much more, for all the things he put me through while we were together. He’s a fool that broke my heart back in Cape Town – long story. Zain obviously wouldn’t hear any of it. I like his Swati temper though, he screams a couple of times and then kisses me passionately, then the fight is over. He knew I’d come to love his lips, just his lips, so he used them quite often.

When I went to Soweto theater, I wanted to gather myself. I felt like my mind was leaving me and I had to chase it fast. I took a walk around the Jabulani township first before walking into the theatre and enjoying the festivities. It was amazing, I had time to do some introspection and I realized I had to dump Zain. Being a performing artist isn’t easy, life as normal people know it doesn’t make sense to you. Relationships do not make sense to me. I was planning on making Zain my muse, so I can paint a picture of him and probably get inspired to paint more or write more songs. Even my voice sounds all cracked up. The reason I left Port Elizabeth was to find my voice, so I can be the Abongile Sokana I’ve always wanted to be. But then Zain happened, and now I have to undo him so I can salvage my career. I made the decision and was going to let him know as soon as I finished doing my laundry, but then he came over unannounced and…

What do I do now?

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