Zahara! Zahara! Zahara! SA Afrosoul sensation!
The chorus of “Zahara! Zahara! Zahara!” - “budding flower” in Arabic - rang out on Saturday night at the Vegkop sports stadium in Windhoek, Namibia. This was for no sport’s team or religious ritual – rather worship for the South African singing sensation Bulelwa Mkutukana from the Phumlani informal settlement outside of East London in Eastern Cape, South Africa, where she lived with her parents Nokhaya and Mlamli Mkutukana and her six siblings. From a 6 year-old choir girl to an international singing sensation at 24 – she is an inspiration to the world. Her music has been loosely described as AfroSoul.
She sings in Xhosa – the main language of the Eastern Cape, as well as English. Her debut album Loliwe was released in 2011, which went double platinum status in South Africa in 19 days when it surpassed 100,000 sales. This made her the second musician after Brenda Fassie to reach this figure in such record time. Interestingly, it will be Brenda Fassie’s eight year commemoration tomorrow. The outspoken Fassie allegedly died of a drug overdose, about ten years after her lesbian lover died of the same cause.
The Loliwe title song was produced by Robbie Mainga and Mojalefa Thebe. It is proving to be a hit on YouTube, where the video has clocked up close to 45 000 combined views and is showing no signs of slowing down. She also recently scooped up 8 South African Music Awards, Zahara including best female artist and album of the year on the 1st of May, appears to have a respectfully calm and down-to-earth demeanour, having stated that material gain is not as important to her as her music.
She will be opening at the Old Mutual Music in the Gardens Series at the Walter Sisulu Botanical Gardens in Roodepoort on 27 May 2012.
For anyone traveling there - tickets are R80 at www.ticketbreak.co.za and R5 from every pre-sold online ticket goes to the Wildlands Conservation Trust for its Trees for Life initiative where community members grow trees to sustain their livelihoods. Pre-sale price at the gardens is R90 and on the day sales are R100.