The documentarian: ​Andy Mkosi

Andy Mkosi: Merging the visual with the sonic. Photo: Earl Abrahams

Andy Mkosi: Merging the visual with the sonic. Photo: Earl Abrahams

Photographer, musician

Andy Mkosi is not afraid to lay herself bare through photography and music. The 27-year-old Capetonian has been discovering herself artistically since starting out in radio, eventually moving on to releasing EPs, iPressure and This Audio Is Visual.

The latter release is indicative of how she merges the visual with the sonic, while also finding time to manage Jam That Session, a multigenre event that runs in Cape Town. In addition, she is the co-director at Vocal Revolutionaries, an organisation that helps young people to discover themselves and others in various ways, including literary and performance arts.

Work and meaning

Her latest musical offering, Dry in the DMs, is candid. She addresses her love life and dishes out insights into the issues prevalent in her life — financial woes, career aspirations, finding inspiration and being an inspiration through fearless expression.

Mkosi always brings honesty into her work. Each song is a portrait of a black lesbian woman in the townships of a city that is strikingly unequal. She does not hide her identity and her surroundings play a role in her narrative.

One gets the sense that the “financial freedom in my lifetime” she speaks of in Opulence, Tu is more about rewriting the story that so many young people in townships are subjected to. Mkosi is the woman trying to reach her goals and being honest about who she is and how she feels.

She is aware of how her identity can be turned against her in a country where men brutally — and at times fatally — assault black lesbian women. Her voice is for the silenced, those who have shared similar experiences as kasi tomboys.

It is her willingness to be introspective that makes listening to her music and viewing her photographs an absolute joy. Within the rhyming over a beat and framing of shots, one finds sincere expression.

The intimacy of her story was best captured in Bedroom Tours. The private shows enabled a deeper connection and an opportunity to reflect on the messages in her work.

Future plans

After a few months in the United States, she has a photography project and singles in the pipeline. A live compilation of Bedroom Tour is also part of her plans.

“Financial freedom in my lifetime” echoes as she steps closer to the realisation of her arriving.

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