TRIBUTES are pouring in for South African singer Zahara, real name Bulelwa Mkutukana, after news of her death at the age of 36.
Dec. 13, 2023
4 min read
Tributes pour in after 'true music icon' Zahara dies
The SA singer, Zahara
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The cause of the singer's death has not been revealed but she was reportedly admitted to hospital last month due to liver complications.
The singer died on Monday, surrounded by family and loved ones, according to a statement posted on her official Instagram.
"It is with heavy hearts and deepest sorrow that we announce the passing of our beloved daughter, sister, and friend, Zahara," read the statement by Zahara's family on Tuesday.
"She was a pure light, and an even purer heart, in this world. A beacon of hope, a gift, and a blessing to us and countless people around the world," the statement said.
In a statement on November 27, the family and team said: "Zahara has been admitted to the hospital for a week following complaints about physical pains. The doctors are working diligently and we await further updates from them.
"In the meantime, we are asking for privacy on this matter; and your continued prayers for the speedy recovery of our beloved Zahara."
Zahara was born in the Phumlani informal settlement, outside East London. At the age of six, she started singing in her school and church choirs.
She released her debut Loliwe in 2011, which went double platinum in less than two weeks. She released five albums altogether. She has also won multiple awards, including 17 SAMAs and three Metro FM awards.
In 2020, she was included on the BBC's 100 Women list, which featured other notable names, such as actors Michelle Yeoh and Jane Fonda, and former Prime Minister of Finland, Sanna Marin.
In 2019, she claimed that she had not been receiving royalties from TS Records for Loliwe.
Record label Warner Music Africa said in a statement that it was mourning "the sudden departure of Zahara, the esteemed South African singer-songwriter recognised for her multi-platinum successes and 17-time SAMA-winning impact on the music scene".
"Zahara, affectionately known as South Africa's cherished Country Girl, leaves a lasting legacy marked by the hauntingly soulful and profoundly emotive tones of her voice."
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Temi Adeniji, managing director at Warner Music Africa, added: "Zahara was a true music icon, a force whose soulful voice and heartfelt lyrics resonated deeply with fans across South Africa and beyond."
"Her impact on the music industry is immeasurable, and her legacy will forever be etched in the hearts of those who found solace and joy in her music. As we mourn the loss of this extraordinary talent, let us remember Zahara for the indelible mark she left on the world through her artistry and the enduring beauty of her music.
"Our deepest condolences go out to her family, friends, and the entire music community during this difficult time," Adeniji added.
Minister of Sports, Arts and Culture Zizi Kodwa posted on X on Monday night: "I am very saddened by the passing of [Zahara]. 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 on South African music," Kodwa added.
Record label Warner Music Africa said in a statement that it was mourning "the sudden departure of Zahara, the esteemed South African singer-songwriter recognised for her multi-platinum successes and 17-time SAMA-winning impact on the music scene.
"Zahara, affectionately known as South Africa's cherished Country Girl, leaves a lasting legacy marked by the hauntingly soulful and profoundly emotive tones of her voice." – News 24