Zahara Mkutukane

Zahara Mkutukane also known as Bulelwa Mkutukana, was born on the 24 November 1988 and comes from a village called Phumlani in East London. Zahara is the fifth out of six children. This splendid and talented youthful woman is only 23 years old but has a voice like a goddess. Both her parents are still alive and married for over 35 years.

At the age of six, Zahara found her voice in church singing with the choir and later became a worship leader for the youth.

At 14, she became a regular at the East London Guild Theatre, starring in Snow White and the 25 Dwarfs, and Cinderella.

Zahara was not always known as "Zahara", as a young girl everyone at home called her Spinach, after the vegetable she loved to eat, of which her mother grew in their garden. She had a hunch that such a name would not cut it in the music industry and embarked on a new name for her.  

She turned to Google in search of a new identity and looked for a name that would summarise what she loves - flowers and all things beautiful. She stumbled on Zahara, which is Arabic for "a blooming flower".

And now everyone wants a piece of that flower. No amount of careful planning and strategising could prepare the soft-spoken-yet-confident singer for the rapidly blooming career that awaited her.

"I am surprised because I never knew South Africa would appreciate my songs like this. When I was working on my music, I hoped to touch four or five lives and it looks a little more than that."

She brings herself in line with a very powerful motto in life, "Perseverance leads to success."and, "Don't ever let anyone tell you that, that dream is unreachable because it is!" advice, she openly shares with other young people - some calling her "the poetic lady". Zahara`s fans go all out to support her in the flair and joy that her voice "brings to ones bothered and happy soul" - one fan echoes in a blog. Her music bears a very powerful emotional element, which is what supporters and fans call "the healing effect that draws you close to conquering your problems". 

On her success she says: "I enjoy playing my guitar and singing. Though I've always had dreams of going professional, I never dreamt it would happen this soon."

For a while, she was a must-see, must-hear feature at Talamanca lounge, the epicentre of the Zahara tsunami, especially on Thursday nights when the town's thinkers gathered for their weekly conference.

Now the rest of the country finally got to witness East London's finest export at the release of Zahara`s debut album, Loliwe, sparking off a flurry of compliments and comparisons on Twitter and Facebook.

Fuelled by her carefully managed and orchestrated TV appearances and radio spots, the viral hype spread uncontrollably. As music lovers scrambled for clues to the metaphysical Zahara, tweets flew thick and fast.

Her wholesome album offering "Uloliwe" have been well received by the music industry, media and her fans. The album so far sold more than 110 000 copies in 21 days, which proves to a greater length that when something is of high standards it is difficult to pirate. The title song of the album "Uloliwe" is amongst the first songs that have been enjoyed in South Africa dating back from the likes of Brenda Fassie who knew how to transport good music to the audience, with whom she is often compared.

Her music tells a story, which is very important in today's life where hope and dreams are something foreign. Stories like, "Kudala bendimonela besithi andiyonto," (They have been jealous of me, telling me I`m nothing). Fans thanked TS Records for the wonderful talent recognition and nurturing, and the spirit within her that helped her rise above all that.

Zahara describes herself as a born again Christian and it seems that her strong faith and believe is what contributed, amongst other things, in her success - helping her stay strong and to continue in making great music to inspire others.  

She is a newcomer with a different sound, a phenomenal voice and is properly packaged. However, Zahara didn't always have the whole package; she explains how she learned to play the guitar: "In 2005, when I was in matric, my father bought my elder sister a guitar. Months passed without her picking up the instrument. So in 2006, I took a gap year because there were no funds for me to go to university and I spent the whole year teaching myself how to play. I made up sounds from listening to music and watched DVDs of live concerts, and closely watched how the guitarist placed his hand and fingers to elicit a sound. It was only when I came to Joburg last year that I was told that I play chord G. It all sounded foreign to me. I am learning."

Her debut album "Loliwe" is very popular and is played on local radio stations like Kfm, Metro fm and Yfm. Zahara's single has sold over 32 000 copies by October 2012 and went platinum, which is 40 000, be the end of November 2011.

Her debut album hit the 200 000 mark in the early months of 2012.

She is the new kid on the block, and she is certainly making waves.

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Page created: 25 October 2011 by T. Cicero
Updated: 11 December 2012