The many layers of Nonkululeko Phiri

Twenty-six years ago at 8am, maybe 8:08am, or perhaps it was more around 7am, Nonkululeko Phiri was born. More than two decades have since passed, a lapse that can mess with memory, so one can’t really blame her mother for not being 100% certain about the exact time.

The era of oppression was waning when her mother christened her. Freedom. That’s the direct translation. A loaded epithet if there ever was one, containing the hopes of a family and a people. “I am Nonkululekoesque; it’s evident in my personality. I’m a little crazy. I think allowing myself that is also part of the freedom,” says Phiri.

A few months ago the petite singer was performing at Straight No Chaser, formerly known as the Mahogany Room, for Design Indaba. Her husky, crooning voice charmed both first-time listeners and old-timers well versed in her music. With a mic in her hand, depending on the track, you may have glimpsed her alter ego, JungFreud, coming out to play.

Read it at the M&G.

Image – Amber Rose Cowie, Between 10and5.