South Africa
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Content creator Audrey Skhosana in running for traditional influencer gong

“Social media is a huge part of the career I have been able to build. I get booked for varying things and it has enabled me to reach people everywhere as I try to represent isiNdebele within mainstream media. 

“I’ve always thought of us [the Ndebele] as being marginalised or underrepresented within the media space or in music. I wanted to represent my people fully while I also educate the rest of Mzansi about isiNdebele.  

“Come to think of it, I really had to think long and hard as to how I can present myself to the world but in a way that I won’t easily be forgotten. So everything about my brand is intentional,” she said, adding that the nomination is validation that she is on the right track. 

“It is validation that I am on the right path. I remember when I submitted my application to be considered, I prayed so hard because I believed this was not just for me but for my culture. I want younger girls to see themselves in me and know that no matter where you are from, no matter how small the community, you can be all that you want to be.”

The star is currently juggling her many roles with studies in accountancy through Unisa but will also be pursuing an arts diploma soon.

“I wanted to pursue the diploma in arts because I have already started being cast in theatre productions without any educational background. I was part of the 2019 State Theatre Youth Expression Festival in a play titled Uloyigo and then last year we performed the same play in the Zabalaza Theatre Festival in Cape Town.”

malibaa@sowetan.co.za

Content creator Audrey Skhosana has been nominated in the best traditional social media influencer category in the SA Traditional Music Achievements Awards 2022. 

This inaugural category sees 10 other social influencers who use their cultural representation to create content as a means of influencing society battle it out for the ultimate title. Among these nominees are actress and muso Nelisiwe Sibiya and Bafana Mthembu, aka As’qgoke.

The 22-year-old from KwaMhlanga in Mpumalanga started her online journey during her matric year in 2017, using the teachings she received from her parents about culture. 

“My parents have always put our culture and traditions at the forefront of everything to a point where they would tell us isiNdebele folktales and other stories that they too got from their parents. They continued the tradition of teaching culture and that would be expressed through our attires, the language at home and food.

“And because of that upbringing, all I knew as part of my identity are my traditions and culture,” she said.

Wanting to be different in an age where copying someone else was easier, Skhosana built her online persona with her cultural identity at the forefront, and has since branded herself as a cultural preservationist, a public speaker and a model.

And as a cultural preservationist, she brings cultural concepts to life through social media to reach a wider audience and accommodate the new-age platforms.