South Africans are reeling from shock following the untimely passing of Bulelwa ‘Zahara’ Mkutukana.
The multi-award-winning sensation passed away on Monday, a few weeks after she was hospitalised due to alleged liver complications.
Zahara has been hailed as a musical genius from all walks of life.
She captured hearts and souls with her top debut album, Loliwe, which was released in 2011.
In 2012, the songstress won eight South African Music Awards (SAMA) in one night, including ‘Best Female Artist’ and ‘Album of the Year.
The guitarist, who was born and bred in the Eastern Cape, started singing in her school’s choir when she was six years old and never looked back.
— ZAHARA (@ZaharaSA) December 12, 2023
One of her best friends, Azania described Zahara as a fighter, who dedicated her life to healing the nation.
Tributes pour in
Lesley Mofokeng from the Recording Industry of South Africa (RISA) and organisers of the SAMAs says Zahara will forever be remembered for her authenticity and honesty.
“What you saw is what you got with Zahara. She kept it real and she was honest about her challenges in life and the challenges she faced in the industry and the lessons, most importantly.”
A number of political parties and civil organisations have also extended their condolences to the Mkutukana family.
Labour federation, Saftu, described Zahara as a musical genius, who produced music that echoed the reality, struggles and hopes of the working-class people.
Saftu’s spokesperson, Trevor Shaku, says the songwriter proved to be a highly talented singer and guitarist, producing music that had an impact beyond South Africa.
“Her song, Loliwe, is historical. It highlights the mode of passenger transport that transported the working class from labour reserves to the working centres in mines and factories.
“Excerpts of her song, Imali, are true to our situation in many senses including that many political killings are motivated by a contest for money in tendering corruption, killings during robberies and even at the macro level, imperialist induced wars and killings are motivated by a contest for money and power.
“In Phendula, she conveys the hopes of the working people, who wish their situations of destitution to change,” says Shaku.
The DA’s national spokesperson, Solly Malatsi, says her music touched many South Africans through her raw sincerity, storytelling and uplifting lyrics.
Malatsi says her catalogue of hits will remain in history as part of the classic soundtracks of South Africa.
“Her incredible musical rise from oblivion to superstardom captivated South African music lovers.”
ATM national spokesperson, Zama Ntshona, has described Zahara as an illustrious musical icon, whose influence on the South African music landscape was unparalleled.
He says Zahara was not only a national treasure, but a global phenomenon.
“Zahara’s journey from the Eastern Cape to international stardom exemplifies the transformative power of art and culture in our society. Her soulful voice, poignant lyrics, and unwavering dedication to her craft earned her acclaim not only within our borders but across continents.”
The party says her achievements underscore the need for continued support and recognition of artists on both local and international platforms.
Friends, fans and colleagues have taken to social media to share their tributes to the star.
Fare thee well Masithathu 🕊️🤍 You truly made an indelible mark in our music and national life. You’ve left a remarkable musical legacy behind. You did the unthinkable and unimagined in many ways. #RIPZahara pic.twitter.com/Qu5WuaX6RD
— Mlimandlela Ndamase (@PrinceNdamase) December 12, 2023
Lala ngoxolo Bulelwa, Spinach, Zahara. You transfixed us with your immense gift. Your life was bold & extraordinary. You rose after each fall & nothing could dim your star 🌟 you healed so many…May your road ahead be filled with Light. Rest in Gods eternal peace 🙏🏾 #RIPZahara pic.twitter.com/ZJkoIpfolb
— Thami Ngubeni (@LifeWithThami) December 12, 2023
— Thembisa Liyema Nxumalo (@tembisanxumalo) December 12, 2023
— KHABONINA™ (@Khabonina_Q) December 12, 2023
— The Instigator (@Am_Blujay) December 12, 2023
MACG asking Zahara what she wanna be remembered as when all is said and done….
— Meshack Mathe Bevhula (@MeshackBevhula) December 12, 2023
This is an UNRELEASED interview we did with ZAHARA, Thinking of putting it up on youtube for everyone to watch, or should I sell it to a news room and give the proceeds to ZAHARA’s family?#RIPZahara
Zahara pic.twitter.com/Iv8WBzMuyB— Deza the Director (@Dezanova45) December 12, 2023
Written by: Lindiwe Mpanza