godessa-south-africaShamema WiliamsEloise Jones a.k.a EJ von Lyrik and Bernadette Amansure a.k.a Burni formed the trailblazing hip-hop group Godessa in 2000 and since then have continued to break ground as the only recording and performing female hip-hop crew in South Africa . Godessa's debut single “Social Ills”, released in 2003 by independent label African Dope Records, was play-listed on both local and international radio stations.

2004 saw the group release their first album Spillage , another indie release under the High Voltage label. The critically and commercial well-received album was produced by Grenville Williams and Godessa lead vocalist EJ von Lyrik. A mixture of genres such as reggae, funk and jazz filtered through a hip-hop sensibility, the album tackled themes such as HIV/Aids, globalization, privatization and crime.

Godessa have performed in Europe, the USA and South Africa at events and festivals such as Pukkelpop, Hovelive, Planet Hiphop, Wemilere, Frauenveld, Gurten, Afro-Pfingsten, Couleur Café, Festi'Neuch, Oppikoppi, Macufe, Hiphop Indaba, Battle of the Year ( Switzerland and South Africa ), Black August, North Sea Jazz Festival, Spier Poetry Festival, Rage for Revolution and various conferences for the United Nations. In 2004, the group was invited by Pro Helvetia on an artist residency in Switzerland . The residency led to Godessa initiating a multi-cultural project known as Rogue State Alliance, where they mobilised 30 artists from the hip-hop scene in both countries resulting in the collaborative Rogue State of Mind album.

Shameema, Burni and EJ have separately and together as a group been involved in projects such as youth work in correctional institutions and HIV/Aids workshops using hip-hop as a learning tool. They comment: “Godessa is based on the belief that women represent eternal life through giving birth, carrying knowledge with the balance of being psychological and analytical thinkers. We are also driven by the need for more representation of positive black women as role models within all forms of media and entertainment.”

A new album is forthcoming this year while EJ and Burni have released solo albums.