In an exclusive interview with Bubblegum Club, Zoë Modiga, a formidable force in the field of South African music opened up about her affinity for the feminine energy, which resonates through her musical oeuvre. A KwaZulu Natal native, Modiga spoke of her participation in the upcoming uMama Mother’s Day concert, set to take place at the prestigious NIROX venue this Mother’s Day.
The uMama Mother’s Day concert is a tribute to the legendary Miriam Makeba and the remarkable power of African womxn’s voices in driving social justice. Known colloquially as “Mama Africa”, Makeba was committed to advancing the status of womxn on the continent. This event, headlined by a lineup of exceptional femme artists, is a celebration of her legacy and a homage to the boundless beauty of motherhood.
Though we were communicating through a flat screen, Modiga’s solid yet reverent and contemplative voice reverberated, as she explained: “Motherhood is something that is a part of society. You know, the feeling of being nurtured, feminine energy, going even beyond gender specifically. I just think it’s such a beautiful space to lend ourselves to. So I was really honoured when I was approached to be a part of the uMama concert.”
Without much ado, Modiga spoke of Makeba as if they were somehow tethered, including other womxn in her articulation of this affiliation. “I’m a big believer in legacy and lineage”, the songstress stressed. As a womxn artist, Modiga hopes to inspire other African womxn to embrace their shared experiences and strengths through events like this. Indeed, the conscious commemoration of African motherhood and femininity is necessary, but not novel.
African cultures have long celebrated womxn through festivals and rituals, providing nurturing and supportive spaces to connect with their inner wisdom, creativity and intuition. The Ijaw people of Nigeria celebrate the Iria festival, marking the transition of girls to womxnhood, while womxn in Ethiopia celebrate the Timkat festival, recognising their role in the Orthodox Church. The Tuareg people of Niger and Mali observe the Takoubert festival to honour the resilience of womxn in their community.
In the rich tapestry of African belief systems, womxn are often depicted as powerful and influential figures, embodying the concept of divine femininity, which is linked to the sacred and spiritual forces that govern the universe. The divine feminine is often represented by goddesses like Mawu of the Fon people of Abomey (Republic of Benin) and Oya from the Yoruba religion who embody motherhood and the natural world.
The Great Zulu Goddess Nomkhubulwane as depicted by Credo Mutwa
The Zulu goddess Nomkhubulwane, typically depicted as a full-figured womxn with ample breasts, symbolises the nurturing and life-giving qualities of the feminine form. The powerful deity is associated with fertility and agriculture. African music and dance rituals, frequently led by womxn, celebrate the beauty of the feminine figure through emotive lyrics and fluid movements.
As we approach Mother’s Day, we are reminded of the power of divine feminine energy that enables womxn to transcend temporal boundaries and shape cultural landscapes. The uMama Concert provides an opportunity to honour maternal figures like mam’ Miriam Makeba for their contributions to our collective consciousness. Through this event, audiences can connect to a cosmic bond of love and compassion, by embracing the many forms of divine feminine energy within us all.
Held at the picturesque NIROX Amphitheatre, the concert features a carefully curated cast of mesmerising musical matriarchs, including Zoë Modiga, Buhlebendalo and The Fem Band, Zolani Mahola, Sky Dladla, Austebza, Jude Harpstar and Bianca Blanc. To complement the musical performances, Epicurean Emporium and Bernie’s Bar offer guests an array of mouth-watering meals and refreshing beverages.
Tickets are priced between R540.00 and R600.00 on Howler