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Content Moozlie living her dream

Nomuzi Mabena. Photo: StillsByTom
Nomuzi Mabena. Photo: StillsByTom

"I see myself as a voice for South African youth, entertainment and street culture," says rapper Nomuzi Mabena, as she takes time to chat to me in between her meetings for the day.

Fondly known to her fans as Moozlie, she has just dropped her first body of work, titled Versus. The mixtape shows her fans a completely different side of the musician.

"As artists we are very emotional beings. People in general go through internal struggles," says the artist about leaving her last record label.

"Instead of using the 'Boss' persona, I let myself go through the motions and release all my feelings. I didn't know I was creating an album."

She explains that the extended play allows her to experiment, conduct market research and find out what people are interested in hearing.

This is of course aided by the fact that it is free for downloading and streaming.

"I wanted it to reach everyone, all corners of life," Mabena says.

Her experimentation is also reflected in her new style. The presenter, who branded herself as "your favourite bald chick Moozlie", currently has short, black hair.

She explains that the short hair is a conscious decision that allows her to compliment different outfits on the red carpet.

Mabena credits Nomzamo Mbatha and Nandi Madida (nee Mngoma) for inspiring her.

"Our hair is our crown and glory so when we change or cut it, something happens."

The artist, who broke through five years ago through a national presenter search, is currently co-host with Somizi Mhlongo on Vuzu Amp's popular entertainment show V-Entertainment. "I really love working with Somizi - on and off screen - it's been a blessing," adding that she is learning a lot from the veteran, especially when it comes to money and handling promoters.

Although Mabena only realised her musical talent through being an MC and hosting experience, she actually sees herself more as an artist.

"I am not leaving television any time soon, but I see myself going more into the musical space and putting emphasis on my music career," she says.

She says the television industry is a "hurry up and wait" situation which can be quite stressful, but adds that it has helped her grow as a presenter.

Mabena is inspired by close friend Vanessa Mdee, who also broke onto the entertainment scene as an MTV VJ and is currently one of the biggest artists in Africa.

Mabena also draws inspiration from a variety of sources, including the legend of Brenda Fassie.

She often refers to herself as the new-age MaBreezus. The name was a form of affirmation when she first joined Cashtime, her former record label.

Mabena has huge plans for her music career and aspires to reach Fassie's status. "I aim to claim that status," she says. "Bongani Fassie has called me MaBrrr, so who the hell are you to deny me this?" she giggles.

"I represent myself in the best way possible."

Although the rapper loves to keep her personal life private, she and her boyfriend Sbudaroc, serve us some serious "couple goals" on Instagram.

"I can't live my life in a cage, I can't live a scared life. I speak my truth."

Mabena has also set her sights on fashion opportunities because Versus was created in collaboration with shoe brand Steve Madden.

The album can be downloaded and streamed for free via Audiomack.