A former Domestic Worker from the age of 17 in the rural village of Nqamakwe Eastern Cape while she was in high school until she dropped out at Tertiary institution where she was studying part-time and working for the lectures of he Eastern Cape Technikon now Walter Sisulu University.
On her arrival in Jo’burg to pursue her carrier in music she found that the streets of Jo’burg were not paved with gold and she went back to her job as a Domestic Worker in Fordsburg, Mayfair, and Homestead Park. The 38-year old Jessica Mbangeni has a deep love and passion for community building through music and that not only resonates through her work but through every aspect of her life, learning that it’s the rhythm that guides one through life’s everyday challenges, joys, highs, and lows.
Born and raised in the Eastern Cape, Jessica is one of South Africa’s most sought after female Imbongi (praise singer) and has made her mark in a male-dominated cultural terrain. Invoking the role of this ancient tradition, largely influenced by her grandmother’s isiXhosa storytelling in the village of Nqamakwe, Jessica offers insightful commentary on contemporary affairs. She has performed alongside musical icons such as Dolly Rathebe, Thandi Klassen, Abegail Kubheka and Dorothy Masuka.
Jessica Mbangeni made her mark as a praise-singer when she joined Multi-Grammy Award Winning Soweto Gospel Choir in 2002 and toured Germany, Australia, New Zealand, Scotland and the 37 Cities in United States of America.
She has performed at prestigious events such as the 46664 concert in Cape Town and the South African President Thabo Mbeki’s second inauguration.
Ms Mbangeni is a resident artist of ABSIP and PPC South Africa and has won awards and been nominated for several awards. Some of her accolades include the:
– Imbokodo Award for Indigenous language preservation,
– South African Traditional Music Achievement Awards for Best
– Female Album and Best isiXhosa Album,
– SATMA Award Best Song of the Year 2016.
– She has also won Eastern Cape Excellent Achiever’s Award 2014 and 2016
– In 2014 she was nominated for 7 categories in the SATMA Awards and nominated for Best Creative Album by the Wawela Awards in 2015.