Rustenburg-born rapper Rorisang Mogapi aka Black Ace says even though getting into the music industry is one of the toughest things he’s done, he’s grateful for his journey and how far he’s come.
When he saw his older brother doing it, Rorisang was hooked and knew he’d be a rapper too. So, from the tender age of 10, he started writing down rhymes but freestyle rapping would soon call his name.
After completing matric, to please his parents, Rorisang went on to further his studies at the University of Johannesburg. “I got my BA degree in journalism, and now I’m completing my honours,” he tells us. “It gets very hectic sometimes because last year, for instance, I was working a demanding campus job. But this year I’m no longer doing it,” he says.
“I wake up every morning at 6am and go to the gym, after that I go to classes or do my assignment, study for tests – just spend some time with my academics. After that, I sell some of my merchandise. From 12 midday to 3pm, that’s time reserved for my baby girl,” he blushes.
Rorisang found out he was going to be a father last year when he had just completed his degree. “I won’t lie, that was a bit scary for me, you know? Because this little human will call me dad and will mirror everything I am. But a great deal of me was excited – I knew I would change forever and started preparing for her arrival even before she was due,” he smiles.
Ten months ago, Rorisang welcomed a healthy baby girl and his life, as he predicted, changed forever. “I know this is probably really bad, but when you have a baby girl of your own you start to really see the dangers against women and want to do something about it. Before Nea came into the world, I knew women have it really rough, especially in our country. I’d retweet things and stand up for them when I could, but when she was born I realised that that wasn’t enough. And that’s what fatherhood does to you – it makes you want to actively participate in creating safe spaces for women and side-lined people in general. And I’m honestly grateful for that.
“Even when I’m chilling with other guys, if they say offensive things about women I call them out, whether a woman is there or not – that’s not the point. The point is someone in your circle thinks this way of women and you have the opportunity to teach, and to walk away if they persist,” he continues.
Time spent with Nea is Rorisang’s favourite thing. “Just watching her do things and be herself is very beautiful. She already has a little personality and an attitude,” he chuckles. “She’s made me a better man in so many ways. My outlook in life has shifted, I work harder than I’ve ever worked because of her, and I’m more responsible with money now. It’s always diapers over anything I prioritised before.”
And the extra effort he’s putting in is certainly paying off. In June, Rorisang was called in by MTV for a performance battle.
“Yo, that was actually a last-minute thing. They called me to tell me about it a day before, but said it wasn’t set in stone yet. But they only eventually confirmed on the day. So, I had a few hours to get read, and get to the place – when others were told a week before. But I got there, did my best and nailed it. I was grateful they even had my number, you know?”
And more recently, Rorisang shared the stage with South African giants such as Kwesta, Busiswa, Slikour, L-Tido, Mlindo The Vocalist and Saudi at Mary Fitzgerald Square in Newtown, Johannesburg.
“All of these experiences are amazing, and I’m proud to be where I am, but I also can’t live in a moment – it’s always on to the next one. There’s work to do.”