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Holy Alpha brings funky storytelling style to hip hop

Rapper prides herself in her culture

Masego Seemela Online journalist
Holy Alpha.
Holy Alpha.
Image: Supplied

Hip hop emcee Holy Alpha is ready for the spotlight with her new banger Inkunzi.

Holy Alpha, real name Sanele Gwabe, believes she bears testament to the meaning of her new jam and although she may be 22 years old, she hopes to leave a lasting legacy to female rappers coming after her.

The concept of her song, which symbolises greatness and defeating the odds, was envisioned and created by music producer Zoocci Coke Dope as a part of her joint winnings from Sportscene’s Put Me On 2021 (PMO) music competition.

The up-and-coming star from Khayelitsha, Cape Town, who also goes by the moniker “Mama Ghost” in the streets, brings a different element to the South African hip hop sphere with her lyrics and Xhosa storytelling techniques.

When did you first make your mark in the music industry?

I started rapping in 2016 when I was 16 years old. I then dropped my first song Goals in 2017. That song opened a lot of doors for me.

From a young age, I knew music spoke to me. I was very hyperactive and curious, so somehow music was my outlet to release the energy I had.

Who influenced your interest in music?

My father did. I come from a family that loves music, especially on my father’s side. We are always singing whenever we have gatherings. However, I’m the first one to branch out and take this music thing very seriously by making a career out of it.

No one is as proud as my father is about my pursuit of a music career... He’s my biggest supporter.

How was it being in the studio with Zoocci?

It was tons of fun... He is a very humble and down-to-earth person. The very first time I spent with him he taught me how important it is to believe in myself. I love how passionate he is about music... This has since fuelled my ambition to make it in the industry.

How was it like breaking into the industry? Were you warmly welcomed?

It wasn’t easy at first, especially when I had to get my name out there. Fortunately, I had the likes of the late DJ Dimplez, PH, Busiswa, Tweezy and Reason who embraced me. Reason was the one who showed me more love the minute I broke out... that guy is my grootman.

I like the fact that I am recognised by these people, it’s such a great feeling.

How would you describe your music?

I am a storyteller... I always strive to speak about the events in my life, things that are happening around me and issues faced in our community. I also love having fun with my music.

What kind of legacy are you hoping to leave behind for young, aspiring female rappers?

I just want them not to be scared to be who they are. They shouldn’t be afraid to be bold, fierce and dominant. I want them to embrace being black and their culture... mainly to represent themselves in their culture and mother tongue. I just want them to be themselves.


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