By Amanda van Rensburg

Senziwe Maliba, a talented student from the Mbombela Campus of the Tshwane University of Technology (TUT), had the honour of praising our nation's leader, Pres Cyril Ramaphosa, at the 2024 State of the Nation Address (SONA).

Senziwe, who studies Public Affairs in Local Government, captivated the audience with her heartfelt verses as she escorted Pres Ramaphosa to the podium. Her powerful performance showcased her inherent gift for poetry, a passion that has been nurtured since her childhood days in Buffelspruit Village, Nkomazi, Mpumalanga province.

Poetry is more than just an art form; it is a core part of her identity and an instrument for expressing respect and admiration. "Because I love it so much, I do it often, which helps me to improve my talent with each performance," she said. Senziwe attributes her poetic talent as a gift she believes she is destined to share with the world.

Her journey as a praise singer started in high school, where her exceptional talent caught the attention of local authorities during a school program. This recognition resulted in many engagements, including performances for the Mpumalanga Legislature’s Department of Culture, Sport and Recreation. As Senziwe's talent flourished, it earned her invitations to even more prestigious events such as the ANC's 112th birthday celebration at the Mbombela Stadium.

Her notable performances include appearances at the State of the Municipal Address and State of the City Address and now, her selection to perform at SONA 2024. Reflecting on this milestone, she said: "By the Grace of God, I was the one selected from a group of identified singers."

Senziwe's artistic endeavours also transcend linguistic boundaries, as she is proficient in crafting and reciting poems in various indigenous languages. While she primarily prefers performing in her native tongue, SiSwati, her versatility allows her to embrace and celebrate the rich cultural tapestry of South Africa through her art.

President Ramaphosa, impressed by Senziwe's captivating performance, complimented and encouraged her. "He complimented me, saying that my performance was truly commendable and encouraged me to continue my artistic endeavours," she said proudly.

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