Nothing but The Plain Truth at Wits

THREE SAMA nominations is pretty respectable for a band that has been around for only three years.

The Plain Truth consists of 11 members including 3rd year dramatic arts student Sarah Jackson who balances her time between studying, rehearsing and touring.

When asked how she manages her busy schedule she says, “When we are on tour I take my laptop and write essays on the bus.”

Her formula has paid off as The Plain Truth was nominated for two South African Music Awards last year and one in 2009.

Last year they were nominated in the categories Best Global Chart DVD and Best Contemporary Christian Album after releasing their second album Only One God. They also performed live at the awards show alongside famous gospel singer Solly Mahlangu.

The Christian band has been featured on TV channels including SABC3 and One Gospel. Jackson explains how she feels when she is recognised because of her band’s publicity:

“Somebody at Wits recognised me and said, “’Sarah I saw you on T.V. last night’… It was random.”

The Plain Truth also includes two other ex-Witsies, Bruce Jooste and Gareth Lee, who studied quantity surveying and publishing respectively.

Jackson describes the theme of the band’s new album as “taking a stand [in what you believe].”

Her message is “to reach young people. The Bible says we are all sinners… If you want that relationship with God then ask him for forgiveness and grace to live a better life [for Him]. God is loving and waiting for you to come to Him”.

The band’s latest album we are the shining ones was mixed in the USA and released this past weekend. The Plain Truth is scheduled to tour in the USA for two weeks starting on June 22 next month.

TIME-OUT: Sarah Jackson balances her time between varsity and touring with her band

A star in her own right – Nomsa Mazwai

OUTSPOKEN AND TALENTED: Sama winner and activist Nomsa Mazwai

Even with the disaster that was the South African Music Awards (SAMAs), this past weekend, South Africans got to see the different talent in the industry from the nominee list and performances on the two-day event.

Although many great acts failed to make the nominee list for the event that was held at Monte Casino; acts such as Professor, Liquideep, Locinville and Nomsa Mazwai went home with awards.

When I secured an interview Mazwai early this week, my week was made because a few months ago, I was introduced to her poem Ebony and Ivory. Her recited truths resonated so much with my experiences as a young South African., as I am sure many others will say the same after hearing it.

Activist, Poet and singer Mazwai was nominated for three SAMAs this year: Best alternative (African), Best newcomer and Best Album packaging. “I didn’t expect three nominations. I was over the moon Yazi… I was walking on clouds for like four-five days.

“It was also just so wonderful, a kind of affirmation because your peers are saying you’re good and when I won I was like whaaat!!”.

Mazwai expressed that she felt she did deserve “at least one award” for all the hard work that was put in by her and all those that contributed to the album. She says it was amazing to have other people buy into her dream and she wanted them too to be awarded because when making the album, she didn’t have much money to pay everyone.

Mazwai did not study music, so she says it was difficult to have everyone understand what she wanted because she does not understand the terminology used by those who studied music. She is doing her Masters in Political Economics at Fordham University on the United States of America. She says this is her first passion and music is second.

Her album Nomisupa(star) is a fusion of Drum-base and Afro jazz. Most are love songs. “I love to love, I fall in love insanely”. Her lyrics confirm this. Listening to the album, I felt as if I was the best friend she told everything to about her love life. She also features songs that discuss politics. Her Album being for all Africans, she does have a song sung in French, a language she speaks fluently.

Check for an in-depth article of Mazwai and her thoughts on the SAMA event, politics, the education system and her other work.