Cardiff Character: Rufus Mufasa

A Welsh creative is paving the way for a hip-hop movement across Wales

Despite her jovial spirit, warm nature and fondness for life’s simplicities, Rufus Mufasa is more than meets the eye.  It’s hard to imagine that the Welsh native – who is currently 30 weeks pregnant – has travelled the world, worked with refugees and found herself surrounded by over 30 male prison inmates, all resulting from her work within the arts.

Rufus Mufasa: hip-hop educator

Rufus Mufasa: hip-hop educator

The 33-year-old bilingual is a hip-hop educator, performance art poet, rapper, lyricist, writer and all-round creative soul. 

Rufus’s love of music and poetry started in her childhood church, where Sunday school provided an environment in which she could explore her musicality. “I just loved learning the songs”, she says, “I didn’t even know what I was doing, changing them into raps and stuff, but I would do that and put my own little calypso twist on them all!”

There were a number of other influences that directly impacted the artist Rufus is today, including her uncle John. The former miner captivated his niece with poetry, songs and stories from his mining days.

Creative career

Fast forward to the present and it’s clear Rufus has carved out a successful career from her creative abilities. This wasn’t an easy journey, exacerbated by Rufus’s mother’s warning that she should always have a “plan B”.

“I thought it was the end of the world, but it was the best thing that ever happened to me.”

Rufus had been in a more conventional job alongside her creative work, until she was made redundant just a few weeks before having her first child. “I thought it was the end of the world, but it was the best thing that ever happened to me. It made me embrace the freelance,” Rufus says.

Game changer

Now self-employed and working with projects across the UK and beyond (this year alone she has travelled to New York, Germany, Poland and Helsinki for various poetry and literature events), Rufus is pioneering hip-hop education in Wales. She desires to create a movement, uniting talented hip-hop professionals all over the country and running summer schools, academies and poetry slams to fire up the next generation of budding creatives.  

Having identified a divide between page and performance poetry in the UK – with page poetry often recognised as superior – Rufus wants to eradicate all distinctions between the two. She is even pushing for hip-hop spoken word to feature in museums and art galleries, being recognised as an established creative art form in its own right.

Above all else, Rufus’s main goal is to use the arts to help others. She sees music and poetry as educational tools, with the ability to give people from all cultures a platform to speak about the realities they face each day.

Rufus has some exciting projects on the horizon, with a hip-hop album currently under way. She is also due to have her second child in January with her partner. Despite being unsure about what else the future holds for her, Rufus has a childlike excitement about the various possibilities. And there is one thing that she is wholly certain of. “What’s in the future?” she says with a smile. “Love.”