If you can’t speak the truth, sing it


Everybody has a story to tell. Nkamogeleng Lebeloane is the one telling them. As a journalist, she hoped she’d be giving people a chance to be heard. Instead, she experienced the very opposite. “I found that my voice was being stifled,” Lebeloane says. “The truth had to be overlooked at the expense of people’s lives.” It was a crushing realisation, but it didn’t deter her. Lebeloane still had a voice – and a powerful one at that. If she couldn’t say what she needed to, she would sing it.

The musician formed the neo-jazz band FingerPrint5 in 2012. “I turned to music when I realised that I could still tell people’s stories while being honest at the same time,” Lebeloane says. The band members came together with a common goal to share and preserve indigenous sounds and stories. Their compositions are inspired by indigenous sounds that they often improvise as they perform. Pooling their experiences and talents, Lebeloane and the band are sharing a powerful message with listeners. “FingerPrint5 is about the power of unity,” Lebeloane says. Together, they cannot be silenced.

Through music, Lebeloane can be objective and remain true to her beliefs. “The most important things we have in this world are our voices,” says. Lebeloane believes her sounds are not just a form of entertainment, but education. They open the listener up to new thoughts and ideas, and start a conversation. “It’s so important that what I sing makes an impact,” Lebeloane says. By sharing the stories of her people and her heritage, she’s inspiring the rest of the country to speak up, and be heard.