Orphanage and a life of uncertainty did not in any way derail Pamela Nothando Bhulu from pursuing a life that she believes was written in the stars for her. Nomina, as she is passionately known to her legion of fans was born in Zimbabwe and raised in Gaborone by both her parents. Sadly, as a teenager she surrendered to orphanage when she lost both her parents in a space of two years, a misfortune that almost shattered her dreams and hopes for the future.
It was a painful road for the young teenager who was left with four siblings to take care of. Hustling became a part of her life. The future seemed bleak. Yet even in the midst of such tribulations, one factor kept her spirit alive. Music!
Growing up, Nomina would make a melody out of everything she came across. She would hum and sing and get so engrossed in her singing that she would even forget whatever she had been tasked to do. Of course no elder would appreciate a forgetful child sent on an errand. Scolding and a promise of a stick and belt became the order of the day.
Did the threats ever work? Not with the determined strong- headed little girl she was. Her humility, tolerance and perseverance also worked out to her favour. She endured a lot in her journey but through her passion in music she never allowed any of her hardships distract her from her goals.
“While studying, I would turn my notes into any melody that came to my mind. So instead of reading I would end up singing my notes and my grandmother would get annoyed and say I am crazy,” she said, revealing that at the back of her mind she knew she would make a career out of music someday.
In 2000, Nomina got a job as a receptionist in an Arab construction company which she can’t even recall. It was then during that tenure that her Ugandan born best friend Linda Asimwe, who had gone to Germany under Au Pair, called her to relieve her of her job as she was going for maternity leave. What was meant to be a baby care job opened wider doors for the young Nomina. In 2002, she enrolled in a one-year course to study German.
“The road to stardom was not an easy one at all. It was a hectic road that demanded me to start from scratch and leaving my siblings was so painful that I spent sleepless nights thinking about it”
The move was more about getting a job, studying and eventually landing her dream job as a singer. Fortunately while in Germany she coincidentally met many artists. She eventually joined ‘Wailing Trinity’ band which comprised of many African artists from different countries but based in Germany. She sang for a year and went for castings where she was chosen to participate in many charity based musicals. She did four musicals including Dance of the vampires, King of the lions, Mammamia and We will rock you.
Nomina then enrolled in a music course for one year where she learnt voice projection, breathing and articulation. Shortly after she went to Fachhochschule University and studied a Degree in International Business Administration.
“I was so determined to learn German so much that even my degree was done in all German, and today I speak fluent German.”
After graduating, it took a while to get a job but she had to take care of her siblings back in Botswana, so she worked part time as a waitress and also in clothing shops.
“Like anywhere else, some people are still behind with racial matters. I once tried to find a job desperately after graduating in 2008. I called a certain place and was asked a series of questions including my skin colour. The moment I said I was black, the lady behind the other line cut the phone in my ear.”
Apart from this setback, Nomina says she has received a lot of love and warmth from the people of Germany who also love her music and are quite supportive of her events management company and music career.
In July 2014, an opportunity came through. Nomina was given the rights to re-do Yvonne Chaka Chaka’s Mamaland song. The video was a family project shot by his younger brother under Slam production. It received over 2 million views and grew her Facebook page to over 160,000 likes. This was just a test that proved to her that indeed she could do music. Mamaland video was later followed by Don’t cry Africawhich was released on the 16th of December 2016.
With all the support she has been getting, she says expectations are also growing and she is being pushed to release an album which she is currently working on. For now, she is circulating the single “Don’t cry Africa” which she says has been received pretty well. She also hopes to do some collaborations with other local artists because she believes that will give her a bigger fan base and help in growing her brand as a rising music artist.