Over 30 Under 50: ‘You Never Know When Your Time Is Coming’-Nomcebo Zikode

Published 3 months ago
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Story curated by Chanel Retief and Nicole Pillay
Art Direction: Lucy Nkosi
Photography: Katlego Mokubyane ; Assistant: Sbusiso Sigidi
Styling: Deneal Van Wyk; Outfits supplied by Fashimo Styles Studio, Ukara, Suited For Her and Preview
Accessories Hair & Makeup:Vanessa Unamaca, MakoleMade Location: NewKatz.Studio, Johannesburg

“I wouldn’t say a ‘power woman’ is fearless because some way, somehow, I do get that fear. But I can say she is a strong woman even though problems approach. She will always be strong and stand up for herself; she has perseverance.”

In 2023, Nomcebo Zikode was celebrated across Africa, but especially in her home country South Africa after she brought home her first Grammy award with two-time Grammy award-winning flautist, Wouter Kellerman and singer and producer, Zakes Bantwini for their song Bayethe. It was a win she did not think would happen. At the FORBES AFRICA power women photoshoot, Zikode walks in with a big smile, ready to reflect on the journey that led to that moment.


“I knew that I wanted to be on TV or I wanted to be a singer,” Zikode says. “Becoming an actress was the second thing but being a singer was the first thing, so I’m living my dream. I’m really so happy to be recognized, not only in South Africa but abroad, and seeing people loving your work as they do, even though there was a point where I was about to give up because I [was] looking at my age. I was over 30 and this music thing was not happening, so I am really grateful to God.”

Also successful as the founder of record label, Emazulwini Productions, Zikode wants to inspire the youth, especially those from disadvantaged backgrounds.

“Personally, it was never about changing my life,” Zikode explains. “It’s about showing another child who’s currently sitting at home, watching me win a Grammy so they can see that Nomcebo made it possible to achieve her goals, so that where they are sitting – whether they’re coming from a rural area or from a poor family – they know that it is possible for them!”

Zikode’s admission of wanting to give up – this was before her hit song Jerusalema topped charts across the globe – is not unique to her. To the women who feel that their careers have stunted, Zikode offers the best advice: “Just keep going and respect your craft. You never know when your time is coming.”