Thursday 28th May 2020,
Soweto Gospel Fans

Getting to Know: Phili Faya

Tell us a little about your hometown and where you grew up.

I grew up in Durban, KwaMashu township in a musical family: my uncle was a music teacher, and my dad was a guitarist.

What were your fondest childhood memories?

I always remembered the time when we used to sing together when we were happy.

Have you always known that you were meant to be a performer?

I never dreamt of being a performer, until I came to Johannesburg.

I worked as a Receptionist in a Recording Company, that is where the love of music grew more.

When did you join the Choir?

I joined the choir in 2005.

How did you hear about the Choir? How did your first audition go?

A friend of mine’s who was a singer told me about the auditions. I was very lucky that they took me after my first auditions.

What has been your favourite memory from trips abroad with the Choir? Have there been any particular countries that stand out?

My favourite memory from trips is the 46664 concert in London, where we were performing with big artists from around the world.

Another favourite memory is when we sang for our great leader Nelson Mandela.

On the flipside, have there been any not-so-good memories when traveling overseas?

I don’t have any bad memories about traveling, except that I miss home.

What do you miss most about home when you are away touring with the Choir?

I miss my son a lot when I’m traveling, he is 4 years old and we are very close.

When not performing, what are some of the things you do on tour to keep yourself busy/sane?

When I’m on tour, I do my colleague’s hair and nails, or go shopping.

What artists past or present have inspired you? Is there a particular artist you would love the Choir to collaborate with in the future?

I’m inspired by Busi Mhlongo as I grew up listening to her music. She is very talented and I’d be very happy if we could get a chance to collaborate with her.

Who are you closest with amongst the Choir members?

I’m close with Fikile [Sidumo] but during our latest tour, I became close with Matshepo [Kutuane], she’s very sweet too.

What are your all-time favourite SGC songs to perform in concert? Why?

My all time favourite song is Kumbaya. Every time when I’m singing this song, I get taken away, it touches me. I sing it with all my heart.

If you were not with the Choir, what would you be doing and why?

If I wasn’t with the choir, I would try and realize my own album, because I now believe that I was meant to be a performer and I can write beautiful songs.

What was the last movie you watched? Did you like it and would you recommend it for others to see?

The last movie that I watched was Mamma Mia. I enjoyed it and would recommend it to all music lovers.

If you and your fellow Choir members were competing on “Survivor”, who do you think would win the million dollars? Whom would you form alliances with? How would you do?

The person who would win a million dollars on Survivor, in our choir is Fikile Sidumo, she’s very strong.

I would form an alliance with Linda Sambo and Thuli Mazibuko, they know how to bring a person down and I don’t think I will survive the first few days, I’m not that strong.

What is the number one misconception non-South Africans have about your country?

I don’t like it when people from other countries think that South Africa is not a safe country, they say it has a high rate in crime.

What is your best joke?

I am very jolly person and just about any joke would do, I don’t think I have a favourite joke.

What is your biggest pet peeve?

I don’t like moody or fussy people.

If you could pick one song to be the “theme song” of your life and how you live it, what would it be and why?

The theme song in my life is “Live your life, don’t worry about tomorrow”, it reminds me that I should live each day to the fullest.

If you could have any super power, what would it be?

If I had to choose any super power I would choose to fly, and see the world from any view possible.

Lastly, what is the meaning of life?

The meaning of life is LOVE.

Thank you.

All photos courtesy of Philisiwe Faya.


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About The Author

From the Great White North of Canada, Elaine is the owner and maintainer of SGF. Besides being a big-time Soweto Gospel Choir fan, she is passionate about world travel, technology, all sports and above all the great mangosteen fruit. Oh, and she can't sing to save her love! :)


  1. Nomcebo faya April 23, 2009 at 12:42 am

    Hey Cuz, I can google you now and I must add that you sound very smart in this interview.
    WIsh you all the best and much success on your new album, it will rock

  2. Tony May 29, 2009 at 6:03 am

    Fantastic interview. Smart,to the point and insightful. Philisiwe , I wish you all the best with your music !

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