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Queen of hip hop

Don’t underestimate Krugersdorp’s Claudia Witbooi. She might be young and petite but she has moved many mountains through her music and activism. We caught up with her in between her studio time and mommy duties.

This dainty gal shocked the country with her honest lyrics and unique beats when she made a name for herself as award-winning Afrikaans hip hop artist, Yoma. She is bright, playful and has a heart of gold. One of the songs on her brand new album, Moedertaal, is called My Blom, and is all about growth.

‘We grow as women and as mothers. During my own pregnancy, I grew on an emotional and spiritual level and I realised that no matter what happens in your life, God will help us grow and we will all eventually bloom.’

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Music with a message is what got her through some of the toughest times in her life. She said that music has always been a part of her life but things only started to fall into place a few years ago.

‘I don’t remember my very first special encounter with music but my mother told me how I used to put on a show for the whole family when I was little. My love for music never stopped. I wanted to be a singer but my family made it clear that I didn’t have a singing voice so that dream was out the door. I loved writing poetry and decided to use this talent and freestyle rap over a rap beat, and that’s when the magic happened.’

People have a
misconception that hip hop is noisy and a bunch of
gibberish.

Back then, there weren’t a lot of female hip hop artists in her hometown and Claudia couldn’t imagine doing something that hadn’t been done before.

‘A family member introduced me to the hip hop crowd. My mind was blown when I learned more about the hip hop culture because what they do is use rhythm and poetry in a very special way to address issues in their community. ‘I love hip hop, because it is honest and that’s why people resonate with this type of music. My music is honest. It is who I am.’

Unfortunately, her family was nervous about her becoming a hip hop artist so she had to study somatology after school to at least make a living while pursuing her dream career. Claudia changed her family’s minds when she started to make a name for herself. One of the things that make her stand out in the music industry is that fact that she always takes chances.

‘I stepped out of my comfort zone with every song I recorded on my recent album. People have a misconception that hip hop is noisy and a bunch of gibberish. If that’s the case, I do a bit of a cappella and people realise that this genre isn’t that bad once you get used to it.’

She has crossed paths with a lot of interesting people. Claudia works with Besembos Productions and is honoured to have met and worked with Giga, Hooflig, Ixa, Oxijin, Coenie de Villiers, Whaden Johannes, DJ Ready D and Hemelbesem.

Originally from George, Claudia fell in love with Pasella presenter Simon Witbooi, also known as Hemelbesem, when she met him at the annual African Hip-Hop Indaba in Cape Town. The two love-birds finally got hitched and moved to Krugersdorp in 2016. When they aren’t working on new music together, they are raising their beautiful daughter.

Motherhood hasn’t slowed her down – instead, she is glowing. Claudia was pregnant when she recorded her recent album and was still performing two months before she gave birth. Her precious baby has been at her side ever since she was born.

‘She is only 18 months old but she loves to dance to her mommy’s music. She has helped me grow and since she came into my life, I have grown closer to God as well.’

Claudia has always had a soft spot for children, but since her baby was born, she feels like a mother to all children.

Through her work at the ATKV Crescendo, she also helps children who dream of being in the music industry.

Through all of this, she found the time to be a MUD ambassador and to write a blog for Rooi Rose during her entire pregnancy. Right now, she is also an activist for women.

‘Women should help build up other women. There are a few different issues which I raise while addressing women and the youth. The general message I want to give women is that everything you need is already inside you. This message is powerful because once you realise this, you won’t be searching for acceptance in the wrong places. Women carry a big responsibility in the way Mother Earth functions. The whole world will be a better place if we all knew what our value is.’

Before meeting her hubby, she was searching for acceptance in the wrong places and was stuck in an emotionally abusive relationship for two years.

‘I didn’t understand why it happened or why I didn’t leave earlier, but at least I got out. There are a lot of other women in the same painful situation and I want
to give them hope. I will be raising a lot more awareness on this topic in the future.’

After their break-up, she had to build herself back up again. During this time, her family and friends were
her rock.

‘I have friends that have been with me since as far back as preschool. My friends and my mother are always there for me and they are my anchor when things get tough. Family and friends are what keep me going.’

Claudia might seem larger than life but she is a down to earth mother and wife who enjoys cooking for her family, cleaning the house and getting creative with a brush and a canvas. In the next 10 years, she hopes to become a much better painter and be the best of the best in the music industry.

‘One day, I will get on stage and the crowd will be so big that there won’t be space for a single extra person.’

She has done more in 26 years than most people do in a lifetime. Claudia’s boldness is contagious and her future is big and bright. We look forward to watching her change the world over the next few years.

Moedertaal is available at Musica, all digital platforms or can be ordered from Besembos Productions. Details: 078 246 5799 or [email protected] / [email protected] or follow her on Facebook, YOMA.

Short & sweet:
1. If you could share the stage with anyone, who would you choose? Singer, songwriter and rapper Lauryn Hill.
2. What is your guilty pleasure? Whiskey and a good red wine.
3. What are your pet peeves? I love my husband dearly but I dispise the way he stirs coffee because the sugar never dissolves. I also can’t stand it when people are dishonest.
4. What do you always have with you when you leave the house? It might sound superficial, but I can’t leave the house without my cellphone!
5. What would you do if you won R1 million tomorrow? I’d be disappointed because it’s so little money. Haha, I’m joking … When I get any amount of money and all my needs are met, I always think of who needs a blessing.

 

Text: JACO-MARI FUTCHER. Photographer: JACO BOTHMA. Hair and make-up: ANTOINETTE DE BEER. Venue: AVIANTO. Flowers: EVENT INSPIRATIONS.

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