Rouge. Picture: Supplied

The Pretoria-born-and-bred rapper, who is of Congolese descent, spent some time in Uganda and she’s bursting at the seams while trying to keep mum about what she was doing there.

“I was there for a brand,” she says. “Oooh, I can’t mention it as yet. But it’s a brand in Uganda and I was there writing and working on a song with an amazing music video. And I was the only non-Ugandan musician involved.”

Rouge doesn’t mind firsts. For instance, she is the first rapper in recent history to be nominated for a South African Film and Television Award (Safta). 

To coincide with the release of her debut album, The New Era Sessions, Rouge also put out a mini-movie called New Era Sessions. It premiered on MTV Base and stars Atandwa Kani, as well as the likes of Denise Zimba. It also sees Rouge convincingly play the lead. 

Rouge. Picture: Supplied

"I say convincingly because we’ve seen what can happen when musicians decide acting is for them too. However, Rouge actually trained in drama before we knew her as a muso.

“I definitely feel like things have come full circle,” she said. “It’s such a blessing to be able to use my (drama and film) degree! I thought the only way I would be able to use it was if I went to auditions, but I never thought it would come through putting my own film together. The film aligns with my music perfectly.”

On the album, the listener accompanies Rouge to a session with a robot therapist. Among other topics, they discuss love, lyricism and women empowerment. In the film, the viewer accompanies Rouge to a session with a rogue therapist.

Rouge. Picture: Supplied

“The album and film go together, because I was trying to show our reliance for answers in everything around us,” Rouge added. “I mean, we’re at a stage where it’s being said that robots can be people’s companions now. There is this incredible need to connect to something. That’s the story I was trying to tell in the movie as well. It was showing what role technology plays in society.”

The New Era Sessions has been nominated for a Safta in the Best Micro Budget Film: TV Non-Fiction category. Rouge told me it cost just under R300 000 to complete. 

The South African Hip Hop Award-winning artist is proud of her strides: “I was doing my hair in the salon when I found out I was nominated for a Safta. I told my stylist, but she didn’t know what I was talking about.”

Now everyone knows. If you’d like to see Rouge’s film, subscribe to her YouTube page today.

* Watch New Era Sessions mini movie at youtube.com/Rouge_Rapper

Here's the first chapter: