By Christopher Ncube
JOHANNESBURG:- Born 27years ago, at Maphasaphasa in Nkayi, Esther “Ntombi yabelungu” Sibanda weathered the storm and fought the challenges faced by artists to form her maskandi group called Ntombi yabelungu that has since released its debut album named Khona kunzima.Sibanda decided to form her own group last year (2018) after working with a drama group called Mthwakazi kandaba in 2014. The group failed to publish its works because of the challenges it encountered chief amongst them the financial problem. In 2016 she, with her friends Mduduzi (Khezi), Wilson (Nkayi) and Greatman from Plumtree, formed a group called Ubuhle bamaNguni.
She doubled as a leading and backing vocalist and they worked together till they released an album called Salibonani.”Singing is in my blood. I can not live without music , thus I formed my own group. I loved singing from my tender age which makes my life incomplete where there is no music near me.”Sibanda’s work has not gone unnoticed as she has seen her name thrown in the fray to compete in the South Africa Development Music and Achievement award (SADMA) and in the Amagugu music awards (AMAS) under the best female maskandi and best female artist categories respectively.
“I am happy that I have won an award in my first year as a maskandi artist. I won the best Vaal music award (VMA) under the upcoming artist category. This shows that I am in the right direction,” said Sibanda who hoped that she will win one of the two awards where she is a nominee.The female maskandi enjoys a good support base because of her good good music which can be hardly differentiated from the music of South Africa maskandi group Ingane Zoma. Though its not easy to make a name in the music industry, Sibanda says she wont look back because she knows that patience pays back. She said her music sounds like the one of Ingane zoma because she admires the group and she grew up listening to their songs.”I know people would say I copied Ingane zoma music, partly yes, but that tells you that I love that group because they play very good music. We follow the best and try to do like them but we always avoid taking their songs. They are a fantastic group that has dished best maskandi music for me,” she said adding that she would love to see herself sharing the stage with them (Ingane zoma).Ntombi yabelungu, a name she got after her band, said the sky is the limit for her.
With the help from other renowned singers, Sibanda wants to make her name in the industry to raise the flag for maskandi female artists.”God is my pillar of strength in anythng I do. It takes one to to be level headed if he or she expects to thrive in any field. If we get sponsors we will be able to dish better music for ours fans.”