In a compelling doccie-film Busiswa: An Unbreakable Story, poet turned gqom super star Busiswa Gqulu wears her heart on the sleeve as she narrates her life story with a clear message of hope, power and resilience.
Busiswa: An Unbreakable Story premiered on last week at the Africa Rising International Film Festival (ARIFF).
Directed by Fred Kayembe and Vaughn Thiel, Busiswa: An Unbreakable Story takes audiences through a journey back in time, from humble beginnings in the rural Eastern Cape to Busiswa working with Beyoncé on The Lion King album.
Narrated by the queen of gqom, Gqulu speaks about her passion for music, poverty, money, fame and the alleged abuse she suffered at the hands of her former love and baby’s dad, Katlego “DJ Kaygee” Mlangeni.
She says: “The only thing that really bothered me was the fact that someone else decided to tell the world that I was being abused and it’s something that I hadn’t even internalised myself. First I feel ashamed, now everyone knows, and people would think how did you get yourself in that situation?”
She eventually found the courage to leave the abusive relationship.
“I left. I conquered that. The worst thing that happened that day is (was) that the psychotic person who abused you comes back and abuses you again physically after you’ve left. And then slut shames you, calls you (an) irresponsible mother, spins a web of lies so that people (would) believe that he’s not
the monster that he actually is.
“The worst thing for me was having a child with an abusive partner. How do I raise my child so that he doesn’t become that person? The only way I can think
of is to teach him that everything is worthy of your love and respect and hopefully he would love and respect women.
In a tear-jerking moment in the documentary, Gqulu talks about growing up in a poverty-stricken environment, but through her love for education and God-given talent, she managed to overcome all the fireballs life was throwing at her.
In July Gqulu was featured on a song titled My Power of The Lion King: The Gift. Recalling that life-changing moment, she says: “My label contract ended last year, and I found myself in the studio with Mr Eaze.
While in-studio, his producer, GuiltyBeatz, takes a video of us in-store and posted it on social media.
“Someone from the team of The Lion King The Gift project inboxes him and says, ‘we’re trying to get her on a song, is she not interested?’
“They said they tried to reach me and they couldn’t reach me. I said tell them ‘I’m here, I’m ready’. They sent the beat and said this is the song we wanted you on. I recorded that same night and sent it back.
“On the day that they sent us the confirmation, I said to my son was ‘we will probably never be poor again’.”
Gqulu also speaks about leaving Kalawa, and starting her own record label Majesty Music.
“I started to feel that I needed to protect my legacy and therefore I needed to prioritise ownership. Majestic Music is the label of queens.”On what the audience can expect from the show: “I want the audience to feel inspired, to feel motivated, to feel like this could be anybody’s story.
"I’m not special. I’m not unique. I’m no different to any other human being. I just did not stop. That’s all. I literally believed in myself so much that it became ridiculous sometimes and for some reason, I always kept a leaf of hope.”
Busiswa: An Unbreakable Story will air on Channel O, next month. Exact date and times to be confirmed.