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Sho Madjozi

It’s taken just over six years for Sho Madjozi to establish herself as a singular global cultural force, primarily on the back of a music career that has seen her perform at Madison Square Gardens and other high-profile stages, collaborate with top-drawer artists, ink an international record deal and win multiple awards. 

The past two years have also revealed the depth of Sho’s multiple gifts with the publication of a best-selling children’s books and several powerful speaking engagements that position her as much more than a multi-hyphenate: she is nothing less than a pioneering force in taking Africa to the world.

Sho (real name Maya Wegerif) has accomplished this while remaining the pride of her Limpopo province birthplace and wearing the influences of her cosmopolitan upbringing loudly and proudly. By fusing languages (Tsonga, English and Swahili), genres (gqom, Afro-pop and hip hop) and fashion (the traditional xibelani skirt with Air Force Ones), Sho pays homage to her Tsonga heritage while embellishing it with elements of a true global sensibility. 

Combining hip hop hooks with catchy gqom-rooted melodies, Sho’s audacious energy and colourful aesthetic made her a trendsetting, household name and presence from the very first reverberating bassline of her debut single, “Dumi Hi Phone” (2018) and its follow-up, the single “Huku” (2018) which has logged more than 2.8-million streams on Spotify.

The year following the release of her debut album Limpopo Champions League (2018), Sho won two high-profile South African Music Awards (Best Female and Best Newcomer) and the much-coveted BET Award for Best New International Artist. Also in 2019, she was included in the Global Citizen Festival: Mandela 100 stage in Johannesburg and, later in the same year, was named  Glamour Magazine’s SA Woman of the Year.

With her South African career flourishing, 2019 was the year in which Sho became a global viral sensation when she performed her previously unreleased single “John Cena” (2019) on the acclaimed Colors platform. Now viewed over 27-million times, her breakout performance grabbed the attention of rap icon Missy Elliot, pop powerhouse Kelly Clarkson and Mr WWE himself, John Cena – and played a significant role in expanding her global fanbase. It was no surprise when, in mid-2020, she was signed to a deal with Epic Records.

In 2021, Sho’s standing as a leading South African artist was cemented when her mixtape What A Life (2020) – a celebration of individuality in all its glory – earned her two more South African Music Awards, this time for Best Female Artist and Best Traditional Artist.  And the accolades did not stop there: in April 2022, Sho was named Best Artist South Africa at the 2022 Tanzania Music Awards, capping another year in which Sho’s collaborative spirit had seen her appear on Tanzanian artist Nandy’s “Kunjani”, a creative coming together of two of Africa’s most talented artists that was released in October 2021.

There was more recognition for Sho’s musical gifts beyond South Africa’s borders in November 2022 when she was Stromae’s Special Guest on 10 of the Belgium artist’s North American Multitude Tour dates including two nights at New York City’s Madison Square Gardens. In the same month, Sho released a new single and music video “Toro” [feat. DDG] via Epic Records, followed up by another Epic Records released single, “Chalé” (2023) that she cooked up with tourmate, DJ, producer, and collaborator Tboy DaFlame while performing to sold out audiences in arenas across North America with Stromae at the end of 2022.

Other recent highlights include Sho’s debut children’s book, Shoma and the Stars which was published in December 2022 – a unique South African tale with an important message and a touching backstory that has become an empowering and inspiring best-seller among young South Africans.

Alongside her music, Sho’s influence as a cultural trailblazer was seen when the outfit she wore at the 2019 Global Citizen Festival in Johannesburg was included in an exhibition at the Brooklyn Museum in mid 2023. Africa Fashion was the largest-ever presentation of the subject – more than 180 works – and was previously at the V&A South Kensington in London from July 2022 to April 2023.

This year has seen Sho further expand her reach, including performing at the Toronto International Film Festival’s (TIFF) Next Wave Block Party and delivering a keynote address at the University of Cape Town in October to commemorate the addition of Swahili Studies to the university’s curriculum. In a revealing statement about her approach to all she does, Sho said in her keynote that “we need to be able to communicate amongst ourselves across this region, regardless of who happened to colonise us”. Sho has shared that she learnt Kiswahili when she was a high school student at the International School of Tanganyika in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania during a period when she lived in the city with her parents – the start of a wide-eyed and all-embracing creative approach that dissolves boundaries and draws in everyone who encounters this remarkable artist.  

SHO MADJOZI tour dates