Jaceni’s Covid-19 lockdown blues ushered in era of transformation

Johannesburg- Doom and gloom may have been the plight for many during this last year, but for TikTok and amapiano vocalist, Khanyisa Jaceni, it’s been a roller-coaster ride of success.

With more than 1.3-million followers on the social media app, the 26-year-old will be the first TikTok live Amapiano Festival host on November 10 and will also release her first EP later this month.

This week also marked her one-year anniversary on the app, which she credits for making her being “well-known and not a celebrity”.

She said losing her job as a computer-aided draughting operator due to Covid-19 lockdown last year,  was a blessing in disguise. Yes, she doesn’t only sing and make hilarious content, she is also a qualified engineer, having studied in the field at Gert Sibande College.


SURPRISE! I dedicate this song to everyone who made me part of their FYP thank you for Loving me #BOTTOMLINE #keeprising

♬ original sound – Khanyisa_Jaceni

“Losing my job was really depressing, but like everything else in my life, I try and keep a positive mindset. So, I decided on November 2 2020 to open a TikTok account. My following grew just by being myself.”

Though Jaceni was already singing with big DJ names, including Maphorisa, Kabza De Small, Mr JazziQ, and featured on hits such as Jikeleza and Ungangi Bambi, she said no one knew who she was, and she used this as an inspiration to open the account.

“I thought I’d slowly introduce myself and then my music. I also use the platform to sing or rather remix the softer English songs into African languages – like the popular Leave the Door Open by Bruno Mars and Anderson Paak, which did really well,” she said.

This inspired her four-track EP that she said will feature her new single, Bheka Mina Ngedwa. It sounds familiar because she uses the same melody of the 10-year-old House track Pure Surprise by United People of Zion featuring DKP.

But barely a few weeks old and proving to be a hit at the groove, Jaceni had breathed new life into it. She said the aim is to introduce something sweet and softer to the amapiano genre.

Born and raised in Secunda, Mpumalanga, the middle child to four brothers said as a black girl, she wasn’t always motivated to love herself unconditionally but was rather told it was rude and that she should wait for others to compliment her first. But contrary to this belief, it’s her self-love and nonchalant attitude that have others rolling with laughter and recording themselves to her voice clips, and reposting them.

Jaceni’s first video was about people going straight for the jugular and approaching her via direct messaging. But she said it was the video of her embracing her big but beautiful forehead that saw her numbers climb.

Kabza de small. / Instagram

She has also coined the term #BottomLine. “It’s become like my nickname. To me it means I mean what I said, why must I wait for people to tell me I’m beautiful.”  Jaceni wants to eventually venture into other areas of entertainment including TV and performing abroad.

She is also honoured to host the Amapiano Festival, which celebrates the genre. The festival is now sitting at 1.3-billion search views and also trends globally.

Audiences will be privy to performances by artists including DJ Maphorisa, Pabi Cooper, Lady Du, DBN Gogo and Mr JazziQ.

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