By Tseliso Monaheng
As a youngster, Sebokeng-born Musa Motha was on track to become a professional footballer. That is until a life-threatening illness put an end to his aspirations. Dance became his escape, and he hasn’t looked back since. To date, Musa has worked with actor, choreographer and socialite Somizi Mhlongo; the rapper Drake; and the theatre director James Ngcobo.
Along with Shimza and other impressive luminaries, he features in the Justice Mukheli-directed television commercial for Ballantine’s biggest, most disruptive campaign in recent memory, Stay True: There’s No Wrong Way.
Whether dance, fashion, art or music is your preferred form of self-expression, there’s no wrong way if you stay true to yourself. That’s the message behind the inspiring new commercial, which harnesses the power of our diverse local talent to show that in a world of impersonators, individuality is king.
We spoke with Musa to learn more about his authenticity, background, and to ask about what he’s got planned for the future.
How has growing up in Sebokeng shaped the person you've become today?
I never let the environment define who I should be. Dedication, loyalty and dreams shape the person I’ve become today.
Playing soccer and video games with my friends.
Were there figures around you that you looked up to? What are they up to now?
I looked up to my late uncle who transformed me to the person I am today. His wise words still live in me.
You were into football as a little boy, but transitioned into deejaying and then dancing over the years. Did your diagnosis teach you anything about holding each passing moment dear to your heart? If so, what is that?
Yes it did, it actually taught me to be humble and unleashed the best in me.
How do you lift yourself out of the funk when you're feeling down?
I play with my dogs / listen to music / take a long walk / pray.
Being that you're from Sebokeng, we'll assume that ispantsula was big while you were growing up. What elements of the lifestyle, if any, have you carried with you into adulthood? Further, and if there are any elements, how do those help you cope with the numerous challenges of growing up in the public eye?
Pantsula was not really a thing in my neighbourhood, however, I was attracted by isbhujwa; isbhujwa taught me to think about myself more and being a good leader and a team player.
How did you manage to survive the hard lockdown?
Lockdown affected me in terms of work. My international tours were cancelled but I still managed to survive. I moved back home from Johannesburg CBD.
Has COVID-19 changed your approach to your craft and your lifestyle? If so, how?
Yes it has, it taught me that anything can happen at anytime and again I need to consider going both live on physical and digital theatre.
What positives have emerged from the pandemic, if any?
From my point of view, this pandemic has taught us not to rely on someone’s pay cheque but to be independent.
How do you stay true to your craft? How do you stay focused?
I respect and value my craft, I practice regularly, I’m open to new ideas and new lessons. In everything I do, I do my best, no compromise.
What's next on the cards for Musa?
More international tours, and collaborations.
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This post and content is sponsored, written and provided by Ballantine's.