We interviewd singer Shishani Vranckx, a great musician and an amazing woman on what being true to yourself means to her, about the message in her music, about being a woman that loves women in Afrika, about living in love and chasing dreams.
What means being true to yourself to you?
To listen to myself and my feelings. Often we already know what we’re thinking, feeling and wanting before we dare to admit it to ourselves. Intuition is one of the greatest gifts we’ve been given and I’m learning to listen it more and more.
What was a real ‘Taj moment’ to you; a moment on which you chose to be completely true to yourself?
I think our lives exist out of many of those moments. To me it was: choosing to be a musician despite of what my parents expected from me, to embrace my love for women and to accept myself in this, to go to Namibia to chase my dreams and music. Now it is: doing exercise every day, trying to take care of myself well, taking my rest and being honest in everything I do.
Being in Namibia and Africa a lot as a lesbian woman, that can’t be easy…
I was born in Namibia, but I grew up mainly in The Netherlands. In 2011 I went to Namibia for the first time in a long time with my girlfriend at the time. Exciting, because I only found negative news on the internet. Because of my performances I ended up in the ‘’art scene’’ of Windhoek city (Namibia’s capital) and the opposite appeared to be true: everybody thought be were a great couple!
Is Namibia changing it its ideas about homosexuality?
In general homosexuality is still considered to be something bad in the press. Also the president is still against it. But luckily there is a lot of activism these days by different organizations, there are gay parties and there is a ‘Mr. Gay Namibia pageant’ ’; a lot is happening.
I have never had negative experiences myself, the opposite even. I get Facebook messages from girls who come out of the closet and tell me first. I give them advice about the existing organizations in Namibia that can help. My colleagues, fellow musicians…everybody knows it, but nobody has openly harassed me because of it. Also not in the media. I think my status as a musician makes that it’s a little different for me than for every other ‘’Namibian girl or boy in the village’’ for whom it’s very difficult to be openly gay.
What is your message to the world, that you want to share through your music?
Truth. Honesty. The truth; that we dare see that truth, beautiful or ugly. To accept yourself in all that you are and all that you aren’t and mainly to be conscious of everything around you. My wish is that we would all try to live in love and to give love - in all her forms – wherever we can.
The ultimate ‘Taj woman’ is to you…
My mother. She is unstoppable. She has always works hard to make her dreams come true and she has always taught me to be myself, no matter what other people might think. This has been one of the most important lessons I’ve ever learned in life.
What do you feel is the best song you’ve ever written (and should our readers really listen to!)?
“Minority.” (You can check it out here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WCyAndKWzro ) I wish we’d learn to ‘live and let live’. We will never be able to understand everybody and everything, and that is okay for it is impossible to do so if you haven’t been through to absolutely everything yourself. But to respect each other despite of our differences is what ought to make us human. Because we are all different, but we are all equal. I’d wish that we would all look at another persons heart and value, and not at color, sexual preferences, religion or culture.
Do you have any other inspiring ‘Cult H’art’ tips for us?
I have some great names for you: Lize Ehlers, Erna Chimu, Hishishi papa, Jackson Wahengo, Tonetic – all amazing artist from Namibia!