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Toya Delazy on losing her gran: 'I found myself in a dark place, at war with my own mind'

Toya Delazy remembers her late grandmother through her new single Qhawe.
Toya Delazy remembers her late grandmother through her new single Qhawe.
Image: Instagram/Toya Delazy

Toya Delazy has opened up about the “dark place” she went to after losing her grandmother and how it inspired her to soldier on and see her worth.

Toya lost her grandmother Irene, wife of IFP leader Mangosuthu Buthelezi, to a short illness last year and told UK music publication The Voice that she is still battling to pick up the pieces of her life.

She said she wrote a song in the days that followed her grandmother's death that helped her soldier on, Qhawe.

“I wrote Qhawe last year after devastatingly losing my grandma. Struggling with the loss of someone so special, I found myself in a dark place and at war with my own mind. Eventually, I realised that no cavalry is coming to save me and I needed to empower myself.

“This track is a rallying call to my fellow humans to be your own warrior, brace yourself and hold your ground because that’s what changed my course. By rapping in my native tongue, Zulu, I’m practising what I preach by being myself and not conforming to current musical norms.”

She also shared on Instagram how music had got her through many testing times since the age of nine.

“It's got me through a lot of sticky situations and changed my outlook towards life. I have survived depression with the help of music, mourned or found power to achieve through music.

“This made me realise the power it had on my mind and how my thoughts and emotions were able to create a different reality in the midst of hardship.”

Paying tribute to her late grandmother in March last year, Toya shared a heartfelt goodbye message on Instagram.

“Goodbye, grandma ... I still don’t believe it yet. Your spirit is larger than life, I still feel it with me. I couldn’t write anything or say anything yesterday ... I am comforted by the fact that when you could feel it, I gave you my time.

“I can’t change things now but I can honour your spirit and stand tall in the world, and not give up because it’s over but press on because it happened.”

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