The saying, a difficult road leads to beautiful destinations, best describes Jabulani Hadebe’s journey into the centre of the South African music industry.
The Bergville-born and Joburg raised musician, popularly known as Sjava ka Mnisi or just Sjava, is now tasting fruits of his labour. After a long struggle trying to make things happen for himself. The Ambitious Entertainment recruit spoke to The New Age about some of the glitches that made it a mamoth task to finally make his long-awaited entry into African Trap Movement (ATM), a sub-genre of SA hip hop.
The singer and rapper says he is proud of his journey. Getting a break at 35 has served to encourage many others to follow their dreams regardless of circumstacnes and age. “Frankly, growing up was tough.
My mother used to sell food at the taxi terminus while my absent father was in and out of our household. “However, I have not allowed this to hinder my progress. I haven not allowed myself to be the product of my circumstances. “I have risen above all the adversities and to commit to making my life different and better,” popular rapper of the Ekseni fame told The New Age in a frank interview.
He says ATM is more than “trap rap music”, but a way of life for him and many others who felt trapped by their unpalatable situations. He says the way to go is to rise above “those dire circumstances, and to make things happen for yourself just as I have shown it can be done”. “We are trapped. I was once trapped in the jungle of Joburg CBD.
Things are different today. My friends Emtee and Ruff and I have move out of our unhappy situation. We have made something good of ourselves, turningadversities into something with a great promise. We have Africanised trap music with our approach to life.” Sjava philosophises about his music. Having tried his hand at acting, Sjava says he decided “I had had enough with acting; it not what I wanted.
Music is what I wanted to create for myself. It is my first love. Acting was just incidental. Having been acting for more than nine years, there were obvious questions I had to ask myself before quitting. But the long and short of it is that I decided to quit and to follow my dream, which was music. It was my first love.” The hustle and bustle of Jozi city life is reflected in Sjava’s sound track as.
Together with his friends they have “hustled” their way to the shiny offices of Ambitiouz Records, one of the newest record labels in the country. “Being together, working and living life as a team and as a unit holds special memories for me,” Sjava says. “Sometimes I would be in the booth recording, and all the memories would flood back. If it were not for Emtee or Ruff, I would not be having this interview with you. I owe my success to them and. I am also grateful to Ambitiouz Records for investing their hard earned money into ship-shaping our careers,” Sjava says.
Sjava first made an impression on his music fans when he was featured on the Ms Pruh’s song, Ameni, which also featured label mates Emtee and Fifi Cooper, among others. The song has since become one of the most played songs on radio.
Its music videos are rotated on all the television music channels. Now with the recently released 18-track debut album,Isinamuva, Sjava is carving a path as a solo artist, with warmly received singles such as Ekseni, Vura and his favourite, Gogo, a song he says summaries and captures his journey thus far.
“I cant say I have a favourite song in that album, as every single one of the songs on the album tells a story. However, the song Gogo, which is the last song on the my album, really summarises my journey in the industry,” he said.
The multi-talented singer and has featured in television productions that include Generations, Zone 14, 7de Laan, Soul City and Gugu No Andile.
He has no regrets about his long road to stardom. “While life has changed, there are new problems to deal with. I cannot afford to bec-ome big headed.”