Muneyi Masibigiri is a performance artist, singer, songwriter and film-maker. Musically he is self-taught but graduated with a degree in Flim-Making from the University of Johannesburg and pursued his music career thereafter. He sings in the language that he understands the most, Venda. The underlying message in his music is interrogating prejudice; race relations, the power of language, gender queerness and gender expression. The intention in the developing body of his work is to bring unity to the tragedy through collaboration.
“I think we judge each other because we don’t know, but we don’t know because we do not want to put in the work… I am hoping with my music to sort-of bridge that divide by bringing in a foreign element I come singing in a different language…” he said.
He was raised by his grandmother, a strong beacon of support system, encouragement, and inspiration in his work and everyday life. He sings a lot about his grandmother and the values – hard work, dedication, love, patience and tolerance – that she instilled in him since his formative years. His performance and writing work are informed by the bible and religious institutions. Although he did not grow up in the church he made a conscious decision to be part of the church at a much later point in his life. The charismatic church he attends is rooted in expression thus he uses that as a medium that informs his creative performance outlook. Whereas the conservative church informs his wording as a writer because he likes well-written things like a bible.
Muneyi considers himself a ‘word whore’ and for him, ‘the bible is one big poem of things we like and dislike, understand and don’t understand, but it’s beautifully written. If you look at it outside what of it means and how certain things are written.” He references John 3:16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life” and states that outside implications it is a beautifully written sentence.
Muneyi is a well-rounded-dynamic and eloquent talent with a tool; a voice. His well-roundness is not by happenstance but it due to him being cognizant of the rougher edges he needed to continuously nourish and polish to good health during his becoming. He is prepared to use his voice to heal, self and others of their hurt and trauma. Through song, message, and conversation.