In My Words: Bokang Ramatlapeng.

Bokang Ramatlapeng is a name making rounds and one to look out for in the music space, with her diversity both in music style and traits setting her apart. She wears various caps as a vocalist, writer and podcast host amongst others. Her compelling references to the divine and the breaking of boundaries coupled with her understanding of purpose have propelled her to the point where her music is synonymous with advocacy and resilience.

I don’t see myself as a motivator [but] more as a healer. I want to heal, and I think my work is to do that, I am born to do that...

Bokang Ramatlapeng

Bokang is our feature on the latest episode of the In My Words series profiling creatives and artists alike on the Unarine Ramaru YouTube page. We caught up with her to get a better understanding of her relationship with music, her inspirations and drive.

From discovering she can sing, to studying music and jazz, to current and future music releases, we got to learn much about Bokang. Below are are some of her quotables from our conversation.

True to the series thus far, we begin our chat on “purpose”. Bokang, purpose?

“For me the purpose for myself as a creative is to inspire, it’s to heal and it’s to connect [my]self to the God within, because once you know those things, then you know there’s nothing else that could stand in your way.”


“I’m inspired by my Creator, I’m inspired by people around me and inspired by so many things but mainly if you’ve heard anything in my music you definitely know that I’m inspired by my Creator. There’s nothing I would do without that type of power and without building that type of reverence you know. There’s a lot I can say about that but [as to] how it trickles into my music, you can definitely hear it”

… speaking of music, how does that come about?

“[In primary school, we had mandatory choir activities], the conductor put us into parts and I just decided, ‘Oh, I think I’m an alto’. So I put myself in an alto part and he gave us a song. Next he goes, ‘I hear something here, something is quite strong here, please reveal yourself so we know who you are because we need a leader for the song’. I kept quiet and eventually he was like, ‘Okay, because you guys don’t want to talk. I’m gonna audition each and every one of you’. So [the audition] got to me, and it was me and because of that, I had to lead all the songs on that concert. And then I think I was like, ‘oh, I can sing, okay, cool’. Because I didn’t know, I walked home I told my sister I think I discovered that I could sing today. I mean, I was a sports child, me and my twin were sports Queens like Serena and Venus. We were about sprinting and sports, so music wasn’t really a thing, I just used to sit around and sing Boom Shaka.”

How do you then transition from “I think I can sing” to “I think this is what I want to do”?

“So towards the end of the year [2010], somebody suggested I audition at the National School of the Arts in Braamfontein. I went to an audition and they accepted me and I guess that’s when it sank in that, ‘you can actually sing, you can actually do this if you make it a discipline or something to take seriously’.”

Now, Bokang often refers to herself as ‘Her Own Skin’, and the origins of this can be traced back to…

“…. when I turned 21 I started my first year at the TUT arts campus [pursuing a B Tech Degree in Music and Jazz Studies] and I felt that there was a lot of comparison amongst vocalists and instrumentalists. I felt like I didn’t fit in, even though we were all in the space to be authentic and unique. So, I felt the pressure that I needed to conform [or] to be like another vocalist. And it was a lot, I went ‘I don’t want to sound like everyone else, I want to be myself.’ And I got over it and decided to call myself out. I then said I want to be a woman that’s comfortable in her own skin, an artist that is comfortable in their own skin. And then I came up with the name Her Own Skin. Her own skin, MY own skin. It became something I decided to live by and has sort of carried me throughout. So, it’s become what my music would sound like, a sort of ethos, something I believe in. ”

How does the concept of Her Own Skin series come about?

“Last year – 2020 – in the thick of lockdown, I decided to start a show called Her Own Skin series. And that’s a series open to women in the industry who know what it means to be in the art space, but also have been through quite a lot. I felt like there was a shortage of those type of conversations where information is passed down. The creative industry is an ever evolving industry and I felt it’s important to share that information [on] how to survive in this industry. So it’s a conversation with women talking about how they managed to be in the industry for all the years they have been. It’s [also] a safe space for women that have been through unfortunate incidents because of how the industry is sometimes, there’s been abuse, there’s been mistreatment, there are things that a lot of people don’t know about that some of the some of the musicians I’ve interviewed have been through. So it’s about opening it up and saying that we can actually share our stories without any shame. But also, most importantly, triumph, I strive on women being triumphant from all the things that they’ve been through. By all means, I would love you to conquer what you’ve been through and still fulfill your purpose, which is the very most important thing for me.”

The single When the Sun Rises alongside Emamkay has been a standout release

“It talks about going through an interesting challenging time, and basically hoping that you can actually come through it, move through it. It’s basically almost like moving through a trial, like you’re going to conquer whatever is around you. And I guess it almost feels like, things are gonna get better, like somebody telling you it will all be over in the morning type of thing. It’s got that emphasis to it. So he – Emamkay – called me studio with a verse and I just decided to hop on because I really loved the beat and the story behind it. [Also] I just love working with them.”

Finally, Can we expect more music anytime soon?

“I really hope that next year 2022 [I release something], hopefully… definitely something. I’m ready to take it all out, I’ve been holding on to things.”

See more from our conversation in the video below.