- Category: PA 2009
Chigo Gondwe, Malawian-born singer and poet, describes herself as “an ethno-urban-hiphop-soul-poetess.” Raised in South Africa, Gondwe returned to Malawi in 2008 after 18 years away. She believes strongly in the using the medium of arts and culture to promote the positive aspects of Africa and thus balancing the often negative views expressed about the continent in the world media.
In her corporate and creative work, Gondwe, a former radio deejay and SABC television presenter, strives to highlight and fight against racism, xenophobia, tribalism and other forms of discrimination prevalent in African communities. She comments: “My purpose is simple: to unite Africans towards a common goal of development and eradication of poverty through (re)education.”
A former band vocalist, Gondwe has over the years curtain-raised and shared the stage with international and African creative legends such as Black Thought (The Roots), Talib Kweli, Dead Prez, Sarah Jones, Mutabaruka, Basement Jaxx, Keorapetse Kgositsile, DJ Kofi and Semtex, Tananas and Tidal Waves.
Having first appeared on the Oppikoppi festival stage in 1999 as the first black female hiphop artist to perform live with a band, Gondwe has since performed for head of states, dignitaries and ordinary people around the world. She has also been featured in various international poetry and hiphop film documentaries, including the more recentSouth African Sistaz in Hiphop and BET's Women in Hiphop.
With partial funding from National Arts Council of South Africa she self-published her first poetry anthology titledJourney to Womanhood in 2005 and is set to publish her second anthology this year – both through her company Afro Poetics Creations. She also independently co-produced and released her self-funded hiphop/poetry albumM'Evolution: Free as Style in 2005 following her first EP M released in 1999.