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Ntombhi ya Mutsonga's poetry for president

Masingita Shibambu, also known as Ntombhi ya Mutsonga, will recite a poem during Sona on Thursday.
Masingita Shibambu, also known as Ntombhi ya Mutsonga, will recite a poem during Sona on Thursday.

Masingita Shibambu, a first year University of Limpopo student, is set to usher in President Cyril Ramaphosa with a poem when he delivers the State of the Nation Address on Thursday.

Shibambu, 19, from Matiyani village near Punda Maria Gate will headline this year's Sona as an imbongi (praise poet) who will deliver poetry in Tsonga to welcome Ramaphosa into parliament.

Shibambu, who is popularly known as Ntombhi ya Mutsonga, told Sowetan she was overwhelmed and excited about her pending performance in front of the nation.

"I'm still in shock because I never thought at this age I will be boarding a flight to Cape Town, amazingly to recite a poem before the president. I'm used to reciting at our local municipal events, weddings and funerals," she said.

Shibambu said she received a call about her billed performance through the Limpopo legislature office.

"When I got the call it was a few days after I had hosted a poetry competition at Malamulele Sports Gym.

"I didn't believe the news that a rural girl will be watched by millions of people, I'm very much thankful to God for choosing me," she said.

Shibambu said she will give South Africans a fresh version of a Tsonga poem combined with Venda.

"I have done my research on the president and I have spoken to people from Venda [about] his clan history and learnt how to pronounce some of the words," she said.

Shibambu started her poetry at Sunday school in a local church in her village in 2014.

"I just doing poetry because I was bored, then fast forward in 2018 I started recording and posting my videos on social media. I was humbled by the overwhelming love and positive responses I got from the viewers," she said.

She attributed her recent exposure to popular Tsonga artist Benny Mayengani who first shared her video to thousands of his followers on social media.

Her manager Prudence Malatji said Shibambu will deliver a remarkable performance.

"We are both excited about her performance. I would have loved to see her live in parliament, unfortunately I have other commitments. She will be leaving today [Tuesday] for her rehearsal in Cape Town," she said.

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