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Interview: Toya Delazy


So, tell us a bit about yourself, how did you get into singing?

I come from a musical family, the Zulus sing for all occasions as music is a big part of our nation. My great-grandma, Princess Magogo was the first recorded indigenous composer in Africa, but personally I got into music to deal with my emotions. It helped me heal from loss and it became a constructive way to deal with a lot that was happening in my life. I started playing the piano from the age of 9 and thereafter I just stuck with it.

For any of our readers that would like to get into your profession, what advice would you give to them?

Well, you gotta love what you do, otherwise, it’s just another job. You can’t be doing it for fame because you will give up along the way, also follow your own steeze if people don’t get it, move on. Out of 7 billion people in the world, you find your audience. Be original, it sets you part and master your craft.

Did you consider a different career path at any point in your journey so far?

Yeah, I thought I would be a doctor because we all have this unreasonable fantasy to do what our families would like us to do.

That changed immediately after one of my classmates dislocated her knee and the last place I wanted to be was near her leg. So I realised I am perhaps too squeamish and that wasn’t for me.

I thought I would be a professional athlete as well. I competed provincially & nationally for South Africa (Hockey and Athletics) but after I experienced loss, I lost interest in sport and that was when music was the most natural thing to me, so I followed it.


Where do you find your inspiration for your work?

From everyday life, it’s all about how things make me feel.

An obvious question from a lesbian magazine, are you seeing anyone at the moment?

Yes. I’m taken ladies, sorry.

What’s your coming out story? Sorry, but everyone wants to know.. 🙂

The South African paparazzi were trying to out me sneaking pictures of me and my girlfriend at every chance.

At this time in South Africa being gay was deadly. Lots of corrective rapes and murders were happening and it was before I had formally introduced her to my Grandad.

So to defuse this bomb – I invited my Grandad to my penthouse in Capetown, bae cooked him Scottish salmon (his fave) and after dinner, I mentioned that Ally wasn’t my friend lol.. I asked him if people like me had existed in Zulu culture, he said absolutely. They used to be left alone, unharmed and there was even a place where the community would convene safe from harm.

He told me how much he hated hearing of the murders and wished the capital punishment could be reinstated for such crimes.

So yeah, my coming out story also came with a slice of valuable history. Africans have never been homophobic, in fact, the name for a gay person in Africa is called inkonkoni which is a black wildebeest.

We value this animal in South Africa and it can be found on our national coat of arms, stamps and our 5 rand coin.

Naming is very important and spiritual in Africa and our Ancestors gave gay people the attributes of the black wildebeest because of it’s heightened awareness. It can sense rain coming from 2 hours away, it also grazes together with Zebras for heightened awareness this was then attributed to children who were gay as they often turned out to be empaths which was seen a blessing from the Gods.

But after our history was erased by colonization and apartheid the new laws saw gay people as evil and sick needing saving.


Who are your role models and why?

King Cetswhayo my great great great grandfather the only King who beat the British when they attempted to colonize the Zulu in 1879 January 22. This was the war that changed the course of colonization worldwide as the British did not expect the Zulus to be educated.

Princess Magogo, she was a praise singer and she broke gender roles by doing so as the role was traditionally reserved for men, I think of her often when I have ideas that no one understands.

My mom. She taught me to be kind to others and allowed me to dress myself as a kid. She allowed me to be free but respectful and in our world climate today it’s a gift to have that. Even though I didn’t have her for long her teachings have moulded me into the person I am today.. I owe a lot to her and my nan.

Out of all of your songs, which one do you enjoy the most?

I’m really enjoying Funani at the moment because it is everything music shouldn’t be but it works – it is a collaboration of cultures, I love that.

If you could use a magic telephone to call yourself at 15 years old what would you say?

Hang in there. Don’t believe them, God loves you as you are.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?

Never throw everything out up front.

Talk us through your average working day?

I wake up at 8:00am, at 9:15am I hit the gym, then I return have breakfast and to attend to whatever is on my itinerary for the day.

Who’s your favourite musician at the moment and why?

Roddy Rich I like his steeze right now his topics are relevant to the spiritual wave, but still current and steezy.


What do you think of the Lesbian scene where you’re from, do you go out much?

It needs lots of love hey.

I used to go out a lot but parties were few and far between until I moved to Capetown and their peeps were more liberal.

I love a good party, but as I grew priorities change. It’s not just about the partying but the influencing of culture so we can have a better environment – so after I broke into the industry in Africa I tried to educate the continent on pansexuality in 2014 with my song Forbidden fruit. The video was blurred on TV and caused an uproar as it had same-sex couples kissing amongst straight ones, we have come a long way.

Lots of sacrifices later I think we are headed to a better place although a month ago there was a murder of a gay guy who was protecting his friend from rape. Lindokuhle Cele death completely shattered our community because just when you think you safe something dumb happens again. So ja..

Where can we see your latest work?

My next Afrorave single drops on the 27th of March titled Qhawe which means warrior in isizulu.


Who’s your celebrity crush and why?

Lena Waithe sister is fly Af! And I respect her craft so yeah not to burn the house lol it’s all appreciation!

Who’s the most memorable person you’ve worked with and why?

Hugh Masikela, we didn’t get time to do the song unfortunately because we lost him. But he educated me and reminded me of our African values even though I have these global dreams. Reminded me to never forget where I am from.

Thanks for taking the time out to chat with us. You can follow everything that Toya does on her insta @toyadelazy.

If you liked this interview and want to read up on more inspiring Queer women head over to all our live interviews page.

Love Nonchalant xx

Nonchalant Magazine
Nonchalant Magazine

This article was written by one of our creative team writers here at Nonchalant Magazine.

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