• Mon. May 20th, 2024

South African Platinum-Selling Singer-Songwriter Zahara Dies at 35

South African platinium selling songwriter Bulelwa Mkutukana, known by her stage name Zahara, has passed away at the age of 36 . She was known for her Afro-soul music. Her music was a mixture of styles popularized by Tracy Chapman and India Arie .

South African platinium selling songwriter Bulelwa Mkutukana, known by her stage name Zahara, has passed away at the age of 36 . She was known for her Afro-soul music. Her music was a mixture of styles popularized by Tracy Chapman and India Arie .

Zahara was born on November 9, 1987, in East London, South Africa, as Bulelwa Mkutukana . She was raised in the Phumlani Informal Settlement outside of East London with her parents Nokhaya and Mlamli Mkutukana, the sixth of seven children . She started singing in her school’s choir when she was six years old, and at the age of nine, she was asked to join the senior choir because of her strong voice . Her stage name means “blooming flower” .

Who was Bulelwa Mkutukana?

Bulelwa Mkutukana, known by her stage name Zahara, was a South African platinum-selling singer-songwriter who was born on November 9, 1987, in East London, South Africa . She was raised in the Phumlani Informal Settlement outside of East London with her parents Nokhaya and Mlamli Mkutukana, the sixth of seven children . She started singing in her school’s choir when she was six years old, and at the age of nine, she was asked to join the senior choir because of her strong voice . Her stage name means “blooming flower” .

Career

Zahara’s music is classified loosely as “Afro-soul,” and she sang in her native language, Xhosa, as well as in English . She started her career busking on the streets of East London . After signing a record deal with TS Records, Mkutukana’s debut album, Loliwe (2011), went double platinum . Her second album, Phendula (2013), produced three chart-topping singles “Phendula,” “Impilo,” and “Stay” . Zahara’s third album, Country Girl (2015), was certified triple platinum . Following her departure from TS Records, she signed a record deal with Warner Music . Her fourth album, Mgodi (2017), was her best-selling album and was certified platinum . Her fifth album, Nqaba Yam (2021), peaked at number 1 on iTunes .

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Death

Zahara passed away on December 11, 2023, in Johannesburg, South Africa, at the age of 36 .

South Africa’s sports, arts and culture minister, Zizi Kodwa, announced her death, saying: “My deepest condolences to the Mkutukana family and the South African music industry. Government has been with the family for some time now. Zahara and her guitar made an incredible and lasting impact in South African music.”

Last month, her manager, Oyama Dyosiba, confirmed she had been hospitalised “following complaints about physical pains”.

She had suffered liver disease after problems with alcoholism, confirmed by Dyosiba in 2019. Her sister Nomonde said that year doctors had told her, “if [Zahara] continues drinking, she is going to die … We are making sure that there is always someone around her to monitor her so that she doesn’t start drinking again”.

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Discography

Here is a list of Zahara’s albums:

  1. Loliwe (2011)
  2. Phendula (2013)
  3. Country Girl (2015)
  4. Mgodi (2017)
  5. Nqaba Yam (2021)

Zahara awards and Nominations

Zahara’s accolades include 17 South African Music Awards, three Metro FM Awards, and one Nigeria Entertainment Award . She was also on the 2020 list of the BBC’s 100 Women .

AwardYear
Best Female Artist2012, 2013, 2016
Album of the Year2012
Best Selling Album2013
Best R&B, Soul and Reggae Album2013
Nigeria Entertainment Award2013
Metro FM Awards2014, 2016, 2018
South African Music Awards2012, 2013, 2016, 2018, 2020

It’s a sad day for the music industry, and Zahara will be missed..

Mbiydzela

mbiydzela
Mbiydze is a web and graphic designer, digital marketer, and founder of a group of companies including CHEETAH CAMEROON, MBIYDZELA DIGITAL and PULSEBEAT ENTERTAINMENT  He is an ambitious entrepreneur with experience in various fields.
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