Based: Cape Town
Simangele Mashazi, also known as Sima, is a singer/sonwriter who was born in Hammersdale, a township between Maritzburg and Durban, KwaZulu-Natal. Before she turned four the family moved to Newcastle. At eighteen she left for Stellenbosch, where she still resides. Between 2011 and 2015, she worked as a presenter and news reader at the radio station MFM 92.6. She is the voice of several advertisements produced at MFM. In 2015, Sima enrolled for a Bachelor of Arts course at the University of Stellenbosch, majoring in Language and Culture.
During her youth in KwaZulu-Natal, Sima discovered a love for music. She was part of a musical family and sang from a very young age. This love grew and her ability in song advanced to such an extent that when in Stellenbosch she received private vocal training for several years. It helped that she was part of a gospel group, too. That said, there is no one genre of music that Sima privileges. Along with gospel, she enjoys diverse styles and this musical eclecticism is tantamount to both her vibrant personality and her expansive musical repertory. She performs jazz vocal standards as popularised by both female and male singers, from Billie Holiday or Ella Fitzgerald to Frank Sinatra or Engelbert Humperdinck – “Summertime”, “Funny Valentine”, “The Way You Look Tonight”, “Girl from Ipanema” and “Quando, Quando, Quando”. Her set-list also indicates a fondness for traditional pop ballads, such as “Somewhere over the Rainbow”, “When I Fall in Love” and “The Prayer”. Adult-orientated pop and RnB feature prominently in her performances, too. These include the most well-known songs which span several decades: from the fifties (“Sway”), through the sixties (“Respect”) and seventies (“I Will Survive”) to the most recent (“Valerie”). Songs from the South African pop canon are an integral inclusion in Sima’s repertory, whether these be African traditional or contemporary music (Marabi, Kwela, Mbaqanga) or Afrikaans pop ballads. Recent hits such as Lira’s “Kheth omthandayo” and Mafikizolo’s “Bhuti Ndihamba Nawe” stand alongside classics of South African pop – Brenda Fassie’s “Weekend Special” and “Vul’indlela”. Standards of seventies township jazz-pop – “Mama Tembu’s Wedding”, “The Click Song”, and “Meadowlands” – rub shoulders with Holzhausen’s “Transkaroo” and Sonja Herhold’s “Ek Verlang Na Jou”. All in all, Sima embraces a varied mix of music, whether from the past or the present, whether from a local context or international.
From 2009 to 2015, Sima achieved various milestones. She shared the stage with several established musicians. In 2009, she performed with Gloria Bosman and the Africa Mamas at the Oude Libertas Theatre in Stellenbosch and worked together with Camilo Lombard, Romanz , Heinz Winckler, Niel Rademan, Alistair Izobel, and Anna Davel at the Artscape Theatre in Cape Town. In 2010, she was chosen as one of the artists to feature in the Gospel Skouspel at the Grandwest Arena. The recording of the show is available both on CD and DVD. In the same year, Sima was a featured artist on the KykNet show “Met Permissie”. The following year, she was honoured with an invitation to perform at the royal wedding reception of Prince Albert and Princess Charlene. And later in 2011 she was part of the line-up at the Voorkamer Fees in Darling. Sima appeared in two key events in 2012, namely, the ATKV Media Veertjie Awards and the Stellenbosch Expo held annually in Johannesburg at Summer Place. With 2013 came an increase in Sima’s illustrious artistic engagements as she was on Radio Sonder Grense (RSG) as part of a Christmas Broadcast on Christmas Eve. She was also be part of the cast for a special KykNet Christmas production on December 24 alongside Jannie Moolman, Liza Beekman , Zanne Stapelberg, Janine Neethling, and Elvis Blue. And just before these Christmas events, Sima featured at the Shoprite/Checkers Annual Awards evening at the end of November. The beginning of 2014 was an artistically fruitful one for Sima as three engagements over three months testified to the growth in esteem or regard she is afforded by the industry. First, she was part of the line-up for KykNet’s Afrivisie Concert hosted during the Suidooster Festival, which was aired on the sponsor’s channel. The line-up included, among others, Brandon October, Bianca Le Grange, Nadia and the Ramon Alexander Band. Second, on February 14 she had the pleasure of doing a joint Valentine’s Day concert with Jannie Moolman at Oude Libertas Theatre in Stellenbosch. And third, March was highlighted by a production for the Woordfees (Word Festival) in Stellenbosch with a line-up of fifteen noted South African women of song. In 2015 Sima sang on the main stage at KKNK as one of six featured artists for the show Klein Karoo Jazz.
Along with her own live or recorded performances both on and off the stage, there is the vocal work she has done for other artists in the studio or on tour. In 2009, she supplied backing vocals live for Nomfusi and Cofield Mundi and she fulfilled the same role for Nomfusi on a European Tour in 2013, which culminated in an appearance at the Lugano Jazz festival. Also in 2013, she was featured in Koos Kombuis’s album, Dertien, singing a tribute song to Nelson Mandela and she also collaborated with the Dutch duo Nick and Simon in a re-recording of their song “Wat Een Nacht”, as part of the South African segment of their reality TV show aired in the Netherlands.
Simangele Mashazi is a vibrant and talented singer. The pure and rich quality of her voice, and her warm, engaging personality are enchanting. The ease with which she moves between genres and diverse audiences is her signature. She views music as a medium with no boundaries and through her music she tells her stories and those of our shared human experiences. Sima has also been chosen to play the young Mariam Makeba in the musical Mama Africa, which is a joint venture between the University of the Western Cape (UWC) and the University of Missouri. This choice is an apt one: her shared heritage and personal influences have prepared her for this role. Her attributes, abiding musical interests, and achievements thus far are a testament to Sima’s talents and readiness to take her place in the South African music industry.