Getting friendly with Siyolise Mahlati
Greetings, dear friends. It’s that time of the week again, when we get up and personal with our artists, from all walks of life. Today’s interview took me back to the Ibali lika Sihle times. I remember getting an inbox message from a reader, on the page, telling me that there is someone out there who has stolen my work. Moments after I’ve read that, I saw tons of wall posts about it. Apparently, the person who “stole” my work decided to change the title to “Ibali lika Sive”. I decided to search the page and read the story. I honestly didn’t know what I was going to do if it was true. I searched the page and found it, so I decided to scroll all the way down to the very first post. I went from just browsing, to reading attentively. No, that was not my story. I posted on my page and addressed my readers, setting the records straight and moving on from it.
As I followed the story, I felt so connected to the writer. I tried leaving a message on her page, hoping she would read it and get back to me- but, you know how these things go. Her story got to an end, and she finally introduced herself. I searched her and added her on Facebook, and she confirmed my request. I waited for a couple of days before saying anything. I didn’t know what to say, and how to say it- but I just wanted to talk to her. I sent her an inbox, reaching out to her, telling her who I am and trying to apologize what had happened a couple of months earlier, when my readers attacked her. We sometimes still laugh about our very first conversation. She says when she saw my inbox, she was with her friends, and she decided to take forever to reply, because she thought I was going to attack her, until she realized that I came in peace.
Since that day, we have been the closest of friends. I’m sure our reads will find this one very interesting, enjoy:
Q: In not more than three sentences, give us a brief introduction of yourself.
A: I grew up as Vuyiseka Peter until 2012 when I got married and became SiyoliseMahlati. I’m a mother, a wife , an artist and a hair dresser. Most people know me from ibali lika Sive, some know me from ‘No one knows the reasons behind my decisions’ and some know me through ‘HERMOSA HAIR by Siyo’ which is my new business that am still trying to grow.
Q: At what point in your life did you realize that you are an artist, and how?
A: Am not sure of how old I was but I remember how I enjoyed writing as a kid, especially when I was not feeling well. I’d take everything that happened, my emotions and how I wish I could have handled everything that happened and write it down in a form of a story. You know when you were in an argument and when you get home, you feel like you should have said this and that and that, but you did not. I used to just recreate the fight in my head, fight it differently and write it down as a story. I used to get good feedbacks from me English teachers for my essays or the autobiographies they used to make us write so I just knew that I had a gift.
Q: Most people know you from Ibali lika Sive, please tell us what inspired you to write that story and how long it took for you to send all your messages across to your audience through that story.
A: That story was inspired by my own life. It was my way of trying to share my life with people, but you know it is not easy to just put your life out there as there are always other people involved. I remembered that as much as this is my life, there are other people involved that might not be happy with having their affairs all over the internet, so I decided to find a way to teach people the lessons that I’ve learnt, open their eyes to things they could not see and try and show them how prayer, or rather, how God always wins. I managed to do that without being too personal. Through words I created a world, and said, let there be light. Through creativity I created people, breathed life into them and IBALI LIKA SIVE was my own Garden of Eden.
It took a while for me to get to a point where I could see that people are actually learning what I was trying to teach, because I had to be strategic. Make sure that people are glued, make them understand me and feel like they are part of everything that was happening. As soon as they were attached, I could start with the ‘boring’ part and they wouldn’t even notice that it was because they felt like they were part of the story; and they fully understood everything about it so they just accepted every lesson and I had so many people thanking me about the lessons. Older people, couples, parents… you name it. People inboxed me, thanking me and I was happy that my goal for the story was achieved. On some ‘mama I made it’ tip, haha.
Q: From being a writer what else do you do?
A: I do hair. I run my hair business, where I sell and style hair at reasonable prices.
Q: From words to hair, take us through that journey.
A: I’ve always loved hair. I grew up doing my neighbors, cousins, mom, sisters, classmates…etc. It’s something that I grew up knowing that I can do and I know I am good at it, so I wanted to have a big successful beautiful hair salon and I waited and waited for money to start my salon. Waiting for money I did not know where I will get. You know those ‘One day I’ll have a lot of money and I’ll have my salon’ but I grew up and realized that I needed to start small, grow with no pressure and in good time, HERMOSA HAIR will be known all over. #HERMOSA is a Spanish word meaning “beautiful” so this is basically BEAUTIFUL HAIR BY SIYO.
Q: Do you ever see yourself writing for your audience again?
A: Definitely. 😊
Q: What challenges did you face in your journey as an artist and how did you overcome them?
A: They said I stole your story hahaha😂. Well, I faced mean people, judgemental people , a lot of pressure and sometimes I’d struggle to deliver on time. Otherwise doing what you love, doing it in your own terms and by your own pace, makes things easy.
Q: Being a young mother, wife, daughter, friend and sister- how do you keep up with all these demanding roles that you play in people’s lives around you and still make a success out of your career?
A: This year, I am mostly focusing on raising my kids. I have 3 kids. 5 years, 19months and 6months. I’m focusing more on being their mom now, being a wife to my husband and all of that comes easy because they are not my responsibilities or anything like that. They are my life. They are my everyday, my everything, my heart in human form and everything that completes my being. So with the hair business, I run it ‘online’ and my husband is so supportive. He is literally my pillar of strength, mainly because he believes in me even in times when I fail to believe in myself. He even goes as far as investing on the business financially, to ensure its growth and development. He is always there to help where he can, make deliveries when I can’t or drop me off when I have a client and maybe I don’t know the area my client is in, as I do house calls as well. So everything comes easy because I have my priorities in order. Being a sister, a daughter, and a friend is easy as well even though I must admit that I have zero % social life.
Q: What’s your motto?
A: I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.
Q: Where can people find you? Please share your social media handles, and contact details (for business purposes)
How is it possible that someone as young as this, make so much sense? I mean, she says she managed to help open people’s eyes, for them to see the power of prayer. That is a meaningful message. There is a major need for one to be able to communicate with his/her superior being. “So I wanted to have a big successful beautiful hair salon and I waited and waited for money to start my salon. Waiting for money I did not know where I will get”, this statement right here is a sword that kills a Black child. We are too comfortable with not achieving our goals, so much that we start making excuses for our laziness. Yes, I call it laziness. Siyo sas she waited and waited for money to start her salon. Money from where, boo? If one is too afraid to take the first step to working towards their dreams, where on earth would they get money from? Siyo stood up and fought for her dream. Look at her now, looking all “Hermosa” with her own hair.
A voice of appreciation to Siyo for giving us time to get to know her. Let’s meet again next Friday when we get to know another exciting artist. Remember to keep pushing that hustle..