The talented, humble Miss Emmah chatted with us on her journey of poetry, music, and most importantly FAITH. The artist who had the honor to perform locally and internationally with iconic poetry such as Diepsloot Baby, Motherless and The Unwritten Code of Conduct, who featured in last years City Press as one of the Winning Woman has shown that a tax consultant is not the only thy God has called her to be.
Emmah Mabye grew up in a Christian home but there were moments where Jesus presented himself more real to her personally and that is what solidified her relationship with Christ. Her home was filled with gospel music that even when she went varsity she was unaccustomed to Christian listening to any other music, as she grew in her relationship with Christ she came to appreciate other forms of music that weren’t necessarily gospel but clean and artful such as jazz, RnB and house music.
So many poets inspire her like Siphokazi Jonas, Puno Seleshi, and many others that she takes certain aspects to help her in her own poetic journey. The love of poetry started in high school when she tried her hand at all sorts of extramural activities and it was when she encountered poetry that she found her feet. “Then one time I am sitting next to my friend and she has this journal and I am looking at the stuff that she is writing and I was like what is in here is different it is not we have in our books, not in our textbooks so I am like how does one get to this point? And she is like no, it’s easy you just write what’s in your heart you know, free verse.
I didn’t like poetry that was being taught in high school so for me it was a matter of doing my own thing following of course the writings of South African poets,” she shared, adding that her brief exposure through her high school curriculum of SA poetry sparked a love that was groomed through time that the majority of poetry in the curriculum failed to ignite. In varsity it Emmah was introduced to the spoken aspect of poetry through the jam sessions that were held that somehow carved the path that she would follow, poetry provided an escape from the hard-hitting accounting books and she thrived in it.
We are a people who are telling our truth, and also we are speaking our truth to power so that is what I try to encapsulate in my body of workMiss Emmah
“I sucked back in the day, thank you to everybody who has been following me throughout the journey, I am not the writer I used to be, I am a much better writer I’d like to feel,” she remarked laughingly going on to describe her work as relatable storytelling of everyday life; a message of truth, a message of inspiration and message of reliability. ” We are a people who are telling our truth, and also we are speaking our truth to power so that is what I try to encapsulate in my body of work,” stated Emmah.
She noted that from rap to poetry at the core of it all is words, the beat she feels should be an addition to the word that is its basis, ” if you think of poetry being spoken word and rap being beats with these words that are being spoken, so I feel with poetry being the Godfather of everything and rap being rhythm and poetry that is where the two connect,” she added. With a slight bias for her hometown reps, Last Days Fam is the Christian rap group that is on her playlist with the addition of Holy Hip Hop Man. She would like to work with Hans Zimmer, Samthing Soweto, and Z_Lus the Zeal, adding that we should definitely be on the lookout for Siphokazi Jonas.
Three performances have taken the positions as her most memorable performance thus far, ” In order first one was Poetry Africa in 2018, It was an absolute dream come true for the longest have time for a good ten years before landing on the stage had been wishing to actually be there. And then when I finally got there it was like God breathed into that performance… I remember after my very opening performance the very first thing I said looking into the audience is “we’re here”, you know, we share and it was not only an acknowledgment of the audience and I being there but us as in like Triune God and I, “we are here.
That which I have dreamt about for so long, You and I are finally me in this space, you know… Another performance was in Sweden and after performing a white girl came up to me and said, ‘Thank you, for helping me acknowledge my privilege’ and couldn’t help but think it took a white girl in Sweden to hear this poem and say thank you for helping me acknowledge my privilege, can I hear that back home in South Africa from a white person, I am yet to, in all the years of the five years of performing that poem and I am yet to, anyway, and the other one was Shimmer Revolution in April 2014 first time at Soweto Theatre… there’s a spirit in the arts, depending on what side you’re on that spirit will rule you, will rule your art and will also rule how you perform it. And before getting onto that stage the manifested presence of God was so heavy that I’ve never struggled to perform like I did that day. I had such a respect for what I do and presenting it to God before I go up on the stage, since that performance,” she elaborated.
God has used her poetry in local and international stages sharing all that she has seen and pondered, the girl from Thembisa has shown that dynamite does come in small packages as her voice has been found resounding in large halls filling listening ears with the truth. She is unashamedly Christian and has been known and accepted in various circles as a Daughter of God, she says it is futile denying the source of her talent, for God is the reason for her being in those circles. “There are two folds firstly as a Christian and then the Artistry. As a Christian please be real with the faith stick to the faith.
We’re living in times where it’s easy to compromise, to be lukewarm, and start questioning your God, no matter what. In regards to artistry I think what I like about Christian artists, is authenticity, so trust God with your Artistry, trust him with what He’s given you. Stick through the process because the process is hard and well at least the Hip Hop you know, you can see it on your One gospel kind of thing, you know, but whether your work goes mainstream or not trust God with it for Him to use it and use you for His glory; through what he has given,” encourages Emmah.
She shared that she misses the stage and can’t wait for the opportunity to get back to it but for now she is focusing on catching her wave and setting up the pillars of her craft. Covid 19 benched her from the stage but she was recently part of the 10-year celebration of Portia M skincare performing a moving poem about beauty, she was also hosting a podcast during the stricter Lockdown levels, to mention a few. Find her on Instagram, Twitter and YouTube, don’t forget to follow and subscribe to get the latest offering of Emmah Mabye.
SACHH raises the flag and raises the bars.