Joshua Bukasa, also known by his stage name, Crazy J Sauve, is a 25-year-old rapper from Cape Town. He grew up in a poverty-stricken Cape Flats community but came from a loving family. Despite the challenges posed by gangsterism and his surroundings, he rose above it all and discovered his love for music.

Tamica Mopp: Crazy J Sauve, one would say you have such a chilled, laid-back life, but tell us more about the challenges you faced in your childhood.

Crazy J Sauve: I grew up in Lavender Hill, Cape Flats so the challenges were more of gangsterism and drugs. Facing that on the daily was a normal thing, seeing drugs you know being taken by a lot of people, seeing young kids join gangs, even some of my friends.

TM: How would you say these challenges affected the way you saw life? Was there ever a time when you felt like you would end up as another statistic?

CJS: There was a time I felt like I would join a gang, I remember just before we moved out of Lavender Hill at the age of 17, friends would always come to us and say “jy moet huis toe kom” [and join]. The more we said no, the more they would sound more and more convincing. It limited my perception on a lot of things as that’s all we saw, that’s the only solution to get out [of poverty], because of the money and respect. Being young it’s easy to be influenced, you basically have to stay strong and your parents play a huge role as well.

TM: How did you discover your love for music?

CJS: I’ve always been very musical. I remember playing drums in church at the age of 9. I started rapping, and writing songs in 2015. During that time I had a best friend from East London, who is a rapper as well. When I saw him rap I was like, “damn bro! I also wanna rap”. We use to chill in his garage every day and listen to beats, write lyrics and just freestyle and that’s how it all started.

TM: You mentioned that you grew up in a very religious way. Tell us, how did your parents respond to your newfound career path?

CJS: At first it was very hard for them to accept it, but the more they understood that it was something I’m passionate about, the more they begun to accept it. They always knew that I’m musically inclined, but to pursue music as a career is something new in our family, it seems like a fairy tale to most. But when they saw the things I was doing and that I was serious, they became more accepting. There’s still a bit of doubt, but they’re old-school like that. (Laughs)

TM: What have some of your highlights been thus far?

CJS: In 2016, I opened for Nasty C at an event called Summer in July. The following year, I had the honour of performing at the Lights Festival with my cousin Nyota Parker. In 2018 I shared the stage again with my cousin and we opened for Yanga Sobetwa, season 14 Idols winner. I’ve had the opportunity to open for YoungstaCPT and Cassper Nyovest. In December 2019, I performed at the lights and won the competition. I opened for Sho Madjozi and YoungstaCPT. My latest highlight would be when I performed on Afternoon Expresso on SABC 3.

TM: Where do you see yourself in five years from now?

CJS: I see myself being the biggest artist in the nation, if not the world. I see myself doing songs with international artists. I see myself merging my clothing brand, which I believe and know will be out there. I see myself having my own record label my own business, I see myself in a much, much better place, just all in one.

TM: What’s the one thing that keeps you going and motivates you?

CJS: Firstly, my faith in God in terms of everyone has a purpose and I feel like I found my purpose, so I have to serve my purpose. Another one of my motivations is my family and my love and passion for what I do, which is music.

TM: What words of motivation would you give someone wanting to pursue their dreams?

CJS: Be persistent, stay consistent, have ambition and be passionate with what you’re doing. Don’t take the short way, don’t take the easy way out, put in the work. You will go through challenges, but those challenges are what build character and make you stronger, and you will reach that point eventually where anything that comes your way won’t be hard to brush off. Stay prayed up as well, you know; gotta give thanks to God and gotta speak to Him regularly so that He can guide you in the right way.

Tell us: Do you have a dream that you want to pursue? What is it?