OkayAfrica's 100 Women

100 Women: Nomzamo Mbatha Wants Black Women to Know That They "Don't Have to Be Polite"

The South African actor, humanitarian and spokesmodel talks her rise to stardom, and letting her voice be heard.

Nomzamo Mbatha is a star—plain and simple.

The South African actor, spokesmodel and humanitarian has carved out a unique path for herself in the industry, and she's inspiring other young black women to do the same, unapologetically.

In our latest video, the 100 women honoree tells us how she discovered her passion for the arts at an early age growing up under the care of her grandmother, and she explains why it's vital that black women cease being "polite" for the sake of others—there's no room for timidity.


Mbatha encourages us all to take our seats at the table, and demand that our voices be heard.

"We don't have to be polite, we don't have to be apologetic about it," says Mbatha. "When you cannot communicate your feelings, when you can't communicate your words, someone else can take that narrative and control it for you."

Though there will undoubtedly be obstacles in our way to achieving greatness, Mbatha shares some frank words of wisdom: "You're practicing towards your greater self, which you will never ever reach, but you know what, that's the fun of life—we gotta keep busy whilst we're here!"

Mbatha is certainly practicing what she preaches. Watch the full video below.

This article appears as part of OkayAfrica's 100 Women 2018—a project highlighting the impactful work done by African women across the globe. Throughout March, we will be publishing a series of profiles, videos, interviews and feature stories on these inspirational women.

Click here to see the entire list of 2018 honorees.

Interview

A Candid Conversation With Olamide & Fireboy DML

We talk to the Nigerian stars about the hardest lessons they've learned, best advice they've ever been given and what Nigeria means to them.

Olamide and Fireboy DML have been working together for three years, but the first time they sit down to do an interview together is hours after they arrive in New York City on a promo tour.

It's Fireboy's first time in the Big Apple — and in the US — and the rain that's pouring outside his hotel doesn't hinder his gratitude. "It's such a relief to be here, it's long overdue," he tells OkayAfrica. "I was supposed to be here last year, but Covid stopped that. This is a time to reflect and refresh. It's a reset button for me."

Olamide looks on, smiling assuredly. Since signing Fireboy to his YBNL Nation label in 2018, he's watched the soulful young singer rise to become one of Nigeria's most talked-about artists — from his breakout single, "Jealous," to his debut album Laughter, Tears & Goosebumps, hit collabs with D.Smoke and Cuppy, and his sophomore release, Apollo, last year.

Even while he shares his own latest record, UY Scuti, with the world, Olamide nurtures Fireboy's career with as much care and attention as he does his own, oscillating between his two roles of artist and label exec seamlessly. His 2020 album Carpe Diem is the most streamed album ever by an African rap artist, according to Audiomack, hitting over 140 million streams. When Olamide signed a joint venture with US-based record label and distribution company, Empire, in February last year he did so through his label, bringing Fireboy and any other artist he decides to sign along for the ride, and establishing one of the most noteworthy deals on the continent.

Below, Olamide & Fireboy DML speak to OkayAfrica about their mutual admiration for each other, what makes them get up in the morning and how they switch off.

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