Nona Ngwenya, fondly known as Nona Zuri, is an ambitious young Ladysmith artist. She grew up in a small suburb in Durban, but it didn’t stop this songbird from having big dreams. “I’ve always loved singing; it is such an amazing thing to express yourself through song. I was professionally trained and I learnt how to make the best use of my talent.”
It was when she joined the school choir that people started realising she had an exceptional voice. “My mother has always been very encouraging. I was lucky enough to be surrounded by positivity while growing up. I held onto my dreams and now I’m on the verge of making this dream become a reality. I’m currently working on my first EP. This is such an exciting time for me.”
This aspiring singer is a woman of many talents.
I studied Psychology and exploring ways to understand people is a passion of mine
Not only does she have an angelic voice, she is also an academic achiever. “After completing school, I studied Psychology. I chose to leave my family to study in Johannesburg. Although I studied Psychology and exploring ways to understand people is a passion of mine, my heart will always go back to the stage. I feel there are a lot more opportunities for up-and-coming artists in Johannesburg. It was a sacrifice, but looking back now, I had the opportunity to meet people I never would have if I was too afraid to take the plunge, move away from my comfort zone and embrace my independence.”
Nona was not just blessed with a sharp mind and a beautiful voice, she is also a beautiful young woman and this led her to modelling which was, like all the opportunities that presented themselves, something she embraced and gave 100%. “I did my first runway show in high school. I didn’t do a lot of print modelling, but I was very involved in the runway side of things. I learnt a lot from modelling, lessons I will always treasure.
Like for instance; be punctual, time is important, professionalism, and growing a thick skin; not everyone will always like you, but that doesn’t mean you are a bad person or that you have to allow that to break your confidence.”
After she completed her studies, her mother moved to Ladysmith from Durban and she knew she would reunite with her mother, but first she needed to work and explore and learn more.
“I reached a point where I felt I needed time and space to create my own brand. That’s why I came to Ladysmith. I came home and home is, after all, where your mother is. It was a strategic decision. I was away from home for six years and I found that as I grew older, relationships in my life became very important to me. I am grateful to get to know my mother as a woman now that I am a bit older. Even though I won’t be able to stay too long, I will always treasure this time with her.”
She has a lot on her plate now, taking courses, expanding her knowledge and working on her career. “I have to keep my mind fresh, constantly absorbing new information. I love motivational books. At the moment, I’m reading Time to Think by Nancy E Kline. It’s a book about allowing yourself to be yourself and learning to love yourself. I also enjoy fiction like Lord of the Rings. I find it so inspiring to know JJR Tolkien is a South African. It makes you realise that just because you are South African doesn’t mean you can’t dream big and you won’t break into the international market.”
It’s such an exciting project to work on and every aspect of this EP will have something of my personality
When it comes to entertaining friends, she loves experimenting in the kitchen. “I enjoy cooking. I’m not an experienced hand, but I’m always open to trying new things. I’ve been a vegetarian for over two years. And I’m happy to say that I feel great. It was a health choice and it’s working wonderfully well for me. Even when I exercise, I see results much quicker now.”
Her EP will be released sometime next year and she is over the moon at the prospect of getting her art out there. “It’s such an exciting project to work on and every aspect of this EP will have something of my personality. The artwork will definitely be exciting for me. I adore designing, from interior design to visual design. I’m drawn to the rustic, shabby chic style, it’s just something I feel really comfortable with. I will definitely incorporate it into this project. My music is neo soul, it’s very lyrical with a modern twist. It’s smooth and relaxed and I just can’t wait to share it with the world.”
Northern KZN Get It August 2017