The Sunday News
Rutendo Nyeve, Sunday Life Reporter
IN order to explain how life is characterised by sudden or extreme changes in a short time, there are various analogies that have been used. One such analogy is postulated by Patti Smith who says ‘Life is like a roller coaster. It’s never going to be perfect – it is going to have perfect moments, and then rough spots, but it’s all worth it.’
Others have compared life to the snakes and ladder game where even if you are bitten by a snake, after a few steps, there is a ladder to take you up. This speaks volumes about Bulawayo’s rising 27-year-old gospel musician Siphosenkosi ‘Snowie’ Ncube.
Born in Matabeleland South’s Kezi area, the former Njube High School student last week graduated at Hillside Teachers College, marking his professional transition to becoming a music professional. His graduation does not only make him a qualified music teacher but adds to the interesting story of the youthful musician whose life cannot be defined any better than the snakes and ladder game.
Perhaps equally to that, one fellow who would struggle to dice a six in order to earn a ticket in the snakes and ladder game, Snowie was to be introduced into this world with a lifelong condition of albinism which is a rare group of genetic disorders that cause the skin, hair, or eyes to have little or no color.
This was to expose him to stigma as society failed to understand him.
While a lot can be said about his 27 years of life, 2022 is one year that has indeed been nothing short of a roller coaster ride and a snakes and ladder game bundled in one.
In June and July, Snowie lost his grandmother and mother respectively.
It was a sad moment that he describes as worse than losing one’s greatest treasure.
“The year has been tough. In 1997 I lost my dad and at that time I was just a year and some months old. So I can’t say I know my father. From there, my mother became the father and mother. I thought since 2022 was my graduation year, she would be there to ululate and cheer for me, little did I know that she would do that from a different world,” narrated Snowie.
While the unfortunate untimely loss of his mother might have been a huge blow, a month down the line he went up the academic ladder with a memorable graduation. The graduation not only saw him being conferred as a qualified music teacher, but as the best graduating music teacher.
Probably this is testimony that his music is prophetic. Songs like Izibusiso (Blessings), Uyisagila sami and Hanya are some of the songs that probably speak volumes of his life.
“Izibusiso zikhona ma ungakholwa kuJesu, intokozo lenjabulo zitholakala kuye, ungbona nginje mina ngiyisbusiso sikasomandla yena uyazi laphengvela khona, I’m blessed left right and centre translated to (There are blessings if you believe in Jesus, joy and happiness come from him, as you see me I am his blessing because he knows where I am coming from)” reads the lyrics of his song Izibusiso.
Before his graduation, the musician saw his music career move to greater heights after he managed to feature with both local and international artists. He was one of the key performers at the Wanqoba show held by Janet Wanyowa recently.
He also went to South Africa to feature with Nomthy Swiss from Joyous Celebration. A few weeks ago, he also performed at the Worship Explosion Service together with Dr Tumi. Speaking to Sunday Life, Snowie spoke of his recent achievement and what inspired him to do teaching.
“I’ve realised one thing when I’m ministering on stage. Most of the time, the first people to accept my ministry are children. So that was more like an eye opener to me that at times I’ll not always get the chance to share the gift I have with children or with people but instead in a classroom set up. It gives me the opportunity to always interact and share the gift with children.
This made me decide to do teaching and become a music teacher so that I impart my knowledge and skills to them.
Most people, particularly parents, would come to me after ministering and ask me how I do it. So I thought if I become a professional, I’ll be able to share how I do it. The reason why I chose music is because I do it on a daily basis and by studying it, it meant I would have a wider understanding of what I do as well,” said Snowie.
He said his music talent has helped him fight the stigma he would experience as a person with albinism.
“Stigmatisation has been one of my challenges as a person with albinism. We live in a world that doesn’t understand albinism. I’ve had to constantly explain myself to communities.
However, my gift has been speaking for me. I get there and do what I do and do it best. The stigma is moved away because people will now be amazed by my work. So the gift has helped me overcome the challenge of stigma,” said Snowie.
The energetic gospel singer said he draws his inspiration from the Holy Spirit who inspires him to write his songs. He figures the biblical David as one of his key inspirations as well.
Commenting on what he learnt over the course of his studies in music teaching, the graduate says education is a pillar to success regardless of the field as most musicians doing well are academics.
“Some of the known artists out there are respected because they have studied what they do. Lindelani Mkhize from Joyous Celebration is a doctor in music.
Studying music teaches us professionalism. It has also enhanced the skill I have and gives me a background about my talent through learning the history of the music.
It basically helped me learn from musicians that were there before me,” he said.
Snowie did not only walk out of college with a Diploma and a prize for being one of the best graduates, but actually recorded his second album titled Uyisagila Sami in 2019 while at college.
This was to be his second album after Hanya which he recorded in 2018. He said he is working on his third project whose completion will be determined by the availability of finances.
Sources within gospel corridors allege that the musician is within popular South African gospel group Joyous Celebration’s radar. If this is true, he will be the third to fly the city’s flag high after Mkhululi Bhebhe and Eric Moyo who made the cut to join the South African Group.–@nyeve14