SUTHUKAZI Victoria Arosi happens to be among artists that have not enjoyed a consistent flow of good fortune in their careers during the last couple of years.
Arosi has had to watch, with disappointment, the spotlight often being turned away from her whenever she had attempted to position and present her work as an artist.
Still, hanging up the microphone in place of a nine to five appears to be the last thing on her mind.
Known for her strong African rhythm driven music, she continues to soldier on while drawing inspiration from the knowledge that hers is not a career entirely dependent on being young and bending over backwards to popular trends of a particular moment.
Her resilience and determination is reflected on her song Africa Phambili (Forward Africa), a tune looking on the bright side of her beloved continent.
“The song basically affirms that despite what Africa has gone through the continent and its people are still standing and continue to make forward strides no matter how little or insignificant they may seem,” she reckons.
Jacob’s Cross’ viewers are certainly familiar with the song as it has been used as a signature tune for the television drama series.
Arosi has, without any financial support from an established or big recording label, already put down a number of songs – including Africa Phambili- that she intends to round up to at least ten for a record to be released under her own administration.
“Even before agreeing to have Sheer Sounds (the recording label she was formerly signed to) release my albums, Ubuntu and The Journey, I was reluctant to be attached to a company. I had seen how most artists in that kind of set up suffered from not being marketed properly or their art being seriously compromised for the sake of instant sales.”
The modern jazz, ballet dancer and actress dropped her debut album Umz’uyasha in 1989. Prior to that she had been part of the recordings of ‘80s pop groups like Oshakati, Cheeck to Cheek, Chimora and later Abantwana Boxolo.
Ayeza, her follow up solo offering, only came out in 1996 and was immediately followed by the 1997 Kora award-winning album Sabela. Featured in the release was Abelungu Abamnyama, a track that was widely spoken about owing to its socio-political content that questions the wisdom of black parents who encourage and insist their children speak no indigenous language but only English.
“My message has always been strong that is politically, socially and otherwise. Abelungu Abamnyama was song communicating a message that English is just a language like any other. English is not the embodiment of education as many are inclined think or misled to believe,” says the singer.
Following her completion of high school Arosi turned a professional artist in 1985.
“I was at the same high school, Mthwalome, with record company executive and Joyous Celebration co-founder Lindelani Mkhize.”
She came to Johannesburg in late ’86 and stayed at Gibson Kente’s place where she performed in the playwright’s productions and got to polish her acting skills. A stint on television saw her cast on the television drama Undenzani Mmelwane.
Moving up in the world of theatre, she earned roles in productions such as Afrodizia and Duma ka Ndlovu’s Vita Award winning play, The Game. She also made the cut for Disney’s Lion King performing in the U.S for a year and a half.
Another major highlight in her career was when she got roped in to be part of Mahube, a Southern African band that featured Oliver Mtukudzi, Steve Dyer, George Phiri and Phinda Mtya.
Things may not be all that rosy for Arosi’s career at the moment but the multitalented performer still has no desire to have a company access card. Instead she is committed to turning things around and making it work in a career she is convinced was chosen for her by uThixo (God.”