Rebecca Seziba, the 9-year-old girl goes viral while playing a public piano in a mall
Rebecca Seziba, the 9-year-old girl goes viral while playing a public piano in a mall Image Credit: Rudi Smith/Screengrab from Facebook video

When nine-year-old Rebecca Seziba bravely walked up to a piano in a bustling mall in Cape Town, South Africa, in December, little did she know that it would change her life. Thanks to a viral Facebook video, last week she received and signed an offer to collaborate with a popular international musician.

Rebecca was lost in the tunes of the famous song ‘My Heart Will Go On’, the theme of the 1997 movie Titanic. Playing the instrument without any music notes in front of her, she stole the hearts of onlookers. A passerby, Rudi Smith, filmed a video and posted it on his Facebook account.

The video soon went viral – thousands of people shared it, with many commenting that they were “moved” by her piano skills. The video eventually landed on the social media feed of a UK-based musician, Rahul Suntah.

Suntah, a classical pianist from Mauritius, who is popular on social media, immediately tracked her down to offer to collaborate with her.

David Gummers, Suntah’s manager, told the a South African news website News24 that Rebecca’s video stood out from the thousands of musical pieces the record company receives; they could not believe her raw talent for playing without any notes.

The record company reached out to the family with a proposal for a collaborative deal between Suntah and Rebecca. The deal was agreed upon, and a contract was signed, the report said.

The report quoted Rebecca’s father, Emmanuel, who said: “Never in a million years did I think she’d be recognised like this. We as a family are just so proud of her and the achievements she’s getting along the way. We knew she had something special in her....”

He added that his daughter is completely self-taught and has never had piano lessons.

According to the News24 article, Emmanuel said, “Most of her inspiration came from watching her brother Joshua play the piano fluently. He was also self-taught and all my kids have taught themselves to play musical instruments by watching YouTube videos.… She would practise for one hour every day, playing whatever classical love song comes to her mind.

“She’s good at memorising music notes and most of the time plays the full duration of a song without even having notes in front of her.”

According to the report, Rebecca wants to study music and become a professional pianist one day.

She has a YouTube channel, which has 11 videos of her playing the piano at the mall over the past year.

According to her bio: “I am a nine-years-old self-taught pianist based in Cape Town, South Africa. I have never attended any piano training school and taught myself how to play the piano by watching YouTube videos. I love playing romantic classical songs. I believe that nothing is impossible in life and you just have to believe in yourself and don't follow the crowd. I sometimes play piano with my siblings at malls in Cape Town as my siblings are also self-taught pianists.”