Born Ignatia Cookie Shabalala in Pietermaritzburg in the KZN, Sista-Ites grew up in a family that loved music and singing was a daily practice in the family. She started her music career by joining the Hot Soul Singers in 1989 who were a well known group during the bubblegum music era.
She worked with the Hot Soul Singers until she joined Angola & The Groaners, a reggae outfit during the early 90’s until 1994 and at the same she was converting to be a Rastafarian when she took a break from music and only concentrated on doing backing vocals for artists around Pretoria where she spent most of her time with her family. She was also concentrating on improving her skills in weaving with wool and producing quality hats, bags and cell phone pouches out of wool.
She started working with Tidal Waves in 2002 as her backing band doing covers of original artists. Before she did her recording she worked at the Digital dungeon Studio assisting with backing vocals for PSALM 133, Lion Silver Dread, Man Wellaz and Diligent Mek as well as many artists to come.
She recorded her first album ‘African Woman’ in 2009 and has been promoting the album with her partner Psalm 133 who presently works as her backing artists on keyboards when she performs. She has recently involved a band to do her backing and the band is hard at rehearsals for future shows.
Sista-Ites has just finished her second studio album recorded at the Digital Dungeon in Yeoville, Johannesburg.
She is indeed a good performer, one can trace influences from the likes of Judy Mowatt and Rita Marley and she has that presence on stage. She has gained a lot of following in Pretoria where she used to live and now she gaining popularity as as shining reggae star in Carletonville/Merafong where she currently resides..