Hip hop artist Nqobile Nomfundo Magongo, popularly known as N.Q, has taken her artistic and musical expression to the next level with the release of an exciting new single titled “Birthday”.
Branded as a song of celebration, the track lauds the artist’s victory in overcoming the challenges and delays she faced in her life as a result of undergoing nine eye surgeries due to recurring retina detachments.
“I started wearing glasses from a tender age of nine. Prior to that, I used to sit at the back of the classroom with poor undetected vision. My Grade 4 teacher, Mrs Bonnie Vercoe, took note of the decline in my academic performance, as I was not completing my homework due to my sitting at the back of the classroom,” the artist recounted.
Upon investigation, her teacher moved her to the front rows of the classroom and immediately noticed her performance improve.
“Fortunately, I received medical attention and started wearing glasses from the tender age of nine. Throughout the years, I received increased prescriptions to support my sight, but in 2018, as I was now a lecturer/corporate trainer, reading off the projected screen, I saw letters jumping and moving. I noticed the words jumping and the order of sentences distorted,” she narrated.
That was the start of N.Q's painful retinal detachment journey.
According to the Mayo Clinic online, retinal detachment describes an emergency situation in which a thin layer of tissue (the retina) at the back of the eye pulls away from its normal position.
“The first round of procedures included an invasive vitreous procedure, laser surgery to repair the tears in her retina, and the removal of the silicone oil bubble that kept the retina in position while healing post-op. A week after, her retina detached again, resulting in the same round of procedures,” she narrated.
N.Q sought a second opinion, where she had the remaining sight in her right eye restored and her left eye vision restored.
Following her painful experience, N.Q was inspired to establish her eye foundation called AFICSYN, an acronym for Africa I Can See You Now, with the aim to engage in community service initiatives to bring awareness to eye degenerative disorders, targeting children in primary and secondary school.
N.Q began her journey as a writer, poet and musical enthusiast.
Throughout her schooling career, N.Q excelled in the performing arts as an actress, taking lead roles in school and local plays as well as representing her school in regional debating competitions.
She recounts that her early experience helped her identify and nurture her naturally expressive mind and talents.
“I explored my musical interests and talent by being part of guitar and poetry clubs in high school and tertiary institutions, which led to the birth of my hip-hop career,” she told IOL.
Rooted in poetry, N.Q’s style of Hip Hop invokes a sense of being raw and unapologetically bold while empowering herself and the listener to be a better version of themselves.
N.Q has since appeared on numerous radio and TV interviews and performances on outlets including Y’s Hip-Hop Floor, Metro FM’s Rap Activity Jam Session, Ligwalgwala’s Hip-Hop Parliament, SABC’s “Morning Live” and many more.
She has shared the stage with established artists, including the late Riky Rick, Emtee, DJ Shimza, and many more.