Jennifer Ferguson

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Jennifer Ferguson is one of the most influential South African singers/songwriters. She once described her mission as follows: "The kids in the townships don't need me to tell them how bad off they are.…
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Jennifer Ferguson is one of the most influential South African singers/songwriters. She once described her mission as follows: "The kids in the townships don't need me to tell them how bad off they are. But white South Africans probably need people like me to offer them some expansion of consciousness."

Born in Ermelo, a conservative small town southeast of Johannesburg, she stirred up her surroundings already as a child with her unconventional attitude; the headmaster of her school called her a raw diamond which he desperately would try to smoothen up. Music soon started to play a big role in her life. It was a medium of expressing her anger about the conformist racist establishment which would slowly lead South Africa into a state of emergency in the '80s.

Given this attitude, the two landmark recordings she released in the '80s, Hand Around the Heart (1986) and Untimely (1989), were banned from any airplay by the state-controlled South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC). But Jennifer Ferguson did constant touring throughout the country, which made her widely known as one of the visionary voices in South Africa.

After the African National Congress had won the first democratic elections in 1994, she became a member of the South African Parliament for the ANC and cut back on her musical activities. This changed in 1997, when she gave up her seat in Parliament and established herself as a cultural wanderer between Sweden, the homeland of her new husband, the composer Anders Nyberg, and South Africa. Her new life in Scandinavia exposed her to a lot of new musical influences which she presented to her audience with new concerts starting in 2000, but as yet no new album.

In 2001, she was inducted in the local South African Sarral Composers Hall of Fame. Her vision at the turn of the millennium: "To find the stillness in the turmoil of the turning of the world."