Poet and musician Jessica Mbangeni visits America to perform a tribute to Kobe Bryant

Poet and musician Jessica Mbangeni visits America to perform a tribute to Kobe Bryant

As the world continues to mourn Kobe Bryant, South African praise poet and musician Jessica Mbangeni has travelled to New York to perform a tribute to the NBA star, who was killed in a helicopter crash last month.

Jessica got tongues wagging this week when she posted a picture of herself paying tribute on Facebook, with the caption: “Kobe Bryant. Memory is our heritage. You will forever be remembered. You were a giant of the world. Our encounter has been an encounter with the giant. Long Live Kobe Bryant.”

Her tribute comes less than a month after the star stole the show at businessman Richard Maponya’s funeral for her priesthood regalia. Many asked when she had become a priest and who had given her authority to participate in procedures reserved for clergy. She later said she was to be a bishop-elect.

Jessica’s manager, King Lloyd, told TshisaLIVE she was invited to pay tribute to Kobe ahead of a game in New York. She was on her way to Jamaica for a Bob Marley celebration event.

He dismissed claims that Jessica was looking for attention with her Kobe tribute and said it was time Mzansi appreciated her talent.

“She is not seeking attention. Men in the industry should realise that the music industry is no reserved for just men. There are people who, once they see a women rising, feel small. It is an issue that we need to deal with in this country. Men should allow women to spread their wings as much as they can, like Yvonne Chaka Chaka and Brenda Fassie. Why can’t we celebrate our own sister?”

Jessica will perform at Bob Marley’s 75th birthday concert at the reggae artist’s home in Kingston, Jamaica, this week, with the likes of Don Dada, Ziggy Marley and artists from Gambia, Rwanda and Tanzania.

“Jessica is becoming one of the most powerful poets in Africa. From time to time she receives invitations to perform at huge events,” Lloyd said.

Jessica will work on her new album while in Jamaica, he added.

“She always receives a phenomenal reaction in Jamaica and people enjoy her performances. Jamaica named her the Queen of Africa because Jamaica is passionate about African roots,” he said.