Stepping on stage to receive a lot more than expected – chart-topping songstress, Nomfundo Ngcobo, popularly known by her stage name, Nomfundo Moh – was overwhelmed by a standing ovation and surprise double platinum plaque as she graduated with a Bachelor of Social Work degree.
Her latest hit Soft life was played as she walked across the graduation stage and danced in celebration. The moment was made all the more special by the audience who sang along in unison and cheered her on. Ngcobo’s management team arranged the surprise platinum plaque handover for her hit song Phakade Lami which has over 9,5 million views on YouTube and over 3 million streams on Spotify. Ngcobo is also Apple Music’s Africa Rising emerging artists.
On receiving her degree, a teary-eyed Ngcobo said she felt emotional, excited and happy but also sad that her late grandmother was not there to witness her special day. She said she was grateful that her family, which included her grandfather and mom were there to share in her joy.
She decided to pursue a career in social work because her main goal in life is to ‘be there for others.’
On juggling her music career and studies, Ngcobo said it was ‘no child’s play’. ‘But if you are focused and know what you want, you’ll get through,’ she said.
She dreams of running her own foundation one day which will work towards improving young people’s lives and keep them out of trouble.
‘I am truly humbled by the love shown to me by my team and fans on the graduation stage. Completing my degree proves that I can achieve whatever I put my mind to. Thank you to everyone who believed in me. To the people, my MohFam, thank you for buying the music, thank you for the love you keep on showing towards me and the art,’ she said.
Ngcobo, who hails from Ndwedwe in KwaZulu-Natal, wrote Phakade Lami during the COVID-19 pandemic. ‘It’s a very relatable song and I think that is what has made it so successful,’ she said.
She always loved music and began singing at the age of six; performing at church, school concerts and at UKZN where she began writing her own songs. She loved working with and helping people which led her to pursuing a degree in Social Work. ‘Music was always my passion. When I realised that people loved my songs, I thought I could actually become a musician and make a career out of it.’
Reflecting on her fondest UKZN memories, she said: ‘I recall during my first lecture, we were put into groups and had to introduce ourselves with what we have in common as a group. In my group, we were all Zionists so we sang Ngijulise Nkosi Othandweni Lwakho (Immerse Me in Your Love, oh Lord). My lecturer, Dr Sibonsile Zibane, even nicknamed me iGosa (steward). I quickly became friends with Andiswa, Smangele and Ntokozo on campus. They always had my back. We’d laugh, have fun and study together. It’s so good to graduate alongside them and I’m proud of them.’
Zibane recalled that she easily recognised Ngcobo’s talent from her first day in class: ‘I remember that she stood out for me. From early on, I could see what a leader she was, a quality that will hold her well in her career as a social worker.’
Her message to other students is: ‘Have dreams and let them drive you to reach greater heights. Ambition resides where there is a dream.’