Samas winner Reign Afrika shares alarming details of traumatic accident
Musician and model needs expensive nasal reconstruction
WARNING: The story contains graphic details that might be triggering to some readers.
SA Music Awards (Samas) winner Reign Afrika has been left traumatised after most of her face was shattered in a horrific car accident, disfiguring her nose and upper lip.
Last year was poised to be the 26-year-old reggae and dancehall musician’s biggest year. Real name Tsoseletso Motsepe, she won Reggae Album of the Year in August at the Samas for her offering Trailblazer. She also scored a nomination at the prestigious awards for Female Artist of the Year losing out to Msaki. To seal it all, she performed at the awards. Her budding modelling career was also taking off.
But on November 19 her whole life came crashing down after she was involved in a taxi accident that left her with facial scarring while travelling from Sebokeng to Johannesburg. The accident occurred a day before she headlined the Reign Afrika Award Celebration concert featuring fellow dancehall artists Skeleton Blazer and Bongo Riot.
“It was a head-on-collision that left a number of people dead. I believe around eight people died. Immediately after it happened it seemed like my case was one of the worst, but there were other people trapped inside the taxi,” Reign Afrika said.
“I don’t remember the impact because I bumped my head judging by the stitches in my head. I remember waking up soon after and crawling out of the taxi, but my face was hurting badly. It was open, all the way to the top of my hair. It was a very traumatic experience to see people lying there and hearing them cry.
“Aside from the head injury, my entire septum was broken, most of my face cut open, my nose cut open and my top lip completely shattered, of which I had to get my first surgery to try to get the shape back with stitching. My nose is still in bad shape, breathing is the hardest challenge.”
The accident resulted in a number of setbacks for Reign Afrika. Her modelling career has been put on hold indefinitely. She had to cancel gigs throughout December and take a step back from other international opportunities that could have seen her perform live in Berlin, Bahamas and UK.
“I’ve gone for vocal check-up and my vocals were not affected, I can still sing. The only problem is that when you sing you use a lot of oxygen, so my biggest challenge is that I will have to work harder to breathe properly as I sing,” she said.
Now that she has removed her stitches, is able to walk on her own and is going to vocal training; the next step is nasal reconstruction.
Afrika requires about R250,000 for her reconstruction procedure that will include surgery, hospital bills, ENT specialist and aesthetics. There is a fundraising concert being organised by her peers with proceeds going towards her surgery. She will also welcome individual donations from the public.
“Emotionally I’ve suffered a lot of mental setbacks caused by trauma from the accident. I have been seeing a therapist to help me cope with anxiety, survivor’s guilt and internal damage,” she said.
“I am trying to regain my confidence as a young woman, performer and model. Confidence and stage presence are important in my line of work... I’ve also had to deal with the stress of not being able to work at the time and cancelling gigs.”
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