South African Music Icon Zahara Passes On


Bulelwa Mkutukana, widely known as Zahara, the acclaimed South African Afro-pop singer, has died at the age of 36, as confirmed by the country’s Culture Minister, Zizi Kodwa.

Zahara had been hospitalised, reportedly due to liver complications, with the government providing assistance to her family during this challenging time.

Zahara rose to fame in 2011 with her album ‘Loliwe’, earning widespread love across Africa. In 2019, she courageously shared her battle with alcohol addiction. Last month, her family announced her hospitalisation, urging South Africans to keep the musician in their prayers.

The songstress passed away on Monday night in a Johannesburg hospital, as reported by the state-run SABC news website. While an official statement from her family is awaited, fans have been expressing grief and sharing cherished memories on social media.

“Zahara and her guitar made an incredible and lasting impact in South African music,” Minister Kodwa conveyed on X (formerly Twitter). Messages from fans echoed the sentiment, with one user stating, “She left us with such beautiful music.”

Zahara, who released five albums, garnered numerous awards locally and internationally. In 2020, she was acknowledged in the BBC‘s 100 Women list. Beyond her musical accomplishments, Zahara used her platform to speak out against violence against women in South Africa, drawing from her own experiences.

In a local radio interview last year, she emphasised that her music aimed not at recognition but bringing comfort to broken souls in need of healing.