Zahara, Acclaimed South African Singer and Guitarist, Dies at 36

Zahara, the South African singer-songwriter renowned for her soulful voice and heartfelt ballads, passed away on Monday at the age of 36 in Johannesburg. The cause of her death has not been reported, but she had been in the hospital for several weeks. The country’s minister of Sports, arts, and culture expressed his condolences, praising Zahara’s “incredible and lasting impact” on South African music.

Born Bulelwa Mkutukana in 1987, Zahara began her music career by busking on the streets of her hometown without any formal training. Her debut album, “Loliwe,” released in 2011, received critical acclaim and commercial success. She sang in both English and Xhosa, incorporating her native language into her music. Known for her husky voice and acoustic instrumentals, Zahara collaborated with prominent African musicians and was named one of BBC’s 100 women of 2020.

Throughout her career, Zahara used her lyrics to tell stories of her faith, struggles, and dreams. She also openly addressed personal tragedies, including the murder of her younger brother and the loss of her older sister in a car accident. She spoke publicly about her battle with alcohol addiction and campaigned for female victims of violence in South Africa.

Zahara’s poignant lyrics and captivating voice endeared her to audiences around the world, cementing her legacy in contemporary Afro-soul music.

Historical background: Zahara’s impact on music extends beyond South Africa. Her ability to connect with audiences through her heartfelt and relatable songs made her a global icon in the industry, cementing her status as one of the most influential African musicians of her time. Her untimely passing is a great loss to the music world.

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