|Real Name:||Bulelwa Mkutukana|
|Date Of Birth/Age:||9 November 1988 (33 Years Old)|
|Place of Birth:||East London, Eastern Cape, South Africa|
Bulelwa Mkutukana, professionally known as Zahara, is a South African singer and songwriter. Zahara is credited with having had a strong passion for music from a young age, starting as a street performer. She has released her fourth successful studio album.
Her debut album “Loliwe”, released in 2011 went platinum in just 13 days and double platinum in 17 days, selling over 100,000 copies in South Africa. It earned her eight wins, including “Album of the Year” and “Best Female Artist” at the South African Music Awards in April 2012. In addition, her albums have earned “Album of the Year” and “Best Female Artist” nominations. She has also received a Best Produced Album award for her “Country Girl” album.
Family & Beginnings
Born, Bulelwa Mkutukana, in the Phumlani informal settlement outside of East London in Eastern Cape, South Africa, Zahara (meaning Blooming Flower) lived with her parents, Nokhaya and Mlamli Mkutukana. She is the sixth of seven children.
Zahara began showing a love for music at the age of 6. At a young age, she was appointed the lead singer of a local Sunday school choir in Phumlani.
Zahara started as a street performer on the streets of East London. She was spotted by TK Nciza of TS Records, who signed her to his label. This began her journey in the music industry. Her music has been described as a mixture of various musical styles popularised by Tracy Chapman and India Arie.
In July 2014, Zahara’s younger brother was brutally murdered in East London. She revealed his death drove her into a period of depression.
Zahara has not said a lot about her educational background. Instead, she has only focused on stories about her music journey and has a startup.
Zahara’s debut album “Loliwe” was released in 2011 and became an instant success. The first issue of the album sold out in 72 hours. The album reached platinum status in 13 days and double platinum status in 19. After Brenda Fassie, she became the second musician who was also a Xhosa native to achieve this.
Her first Live DVD, which features X Factor USA contestant, LeRoy Bell, reached platinum status in one day. In May 2012, she won 8 SAMA awards, including “Best Female Artist” and “Album of the Year”.
Her second album, “Phendula”, won three SAMAs for “Best Selling Album”, “Best R&B, Soul and Reggae Album”, and “Best Female Artist”. The same year, she performed a private bedside concert at Mandela’s home. She composed and released the “Nelson Mandela EP” in his honour.
After her brother’s murder, she released the “Country Girl” album in 2015.
In 2017, she signed with Warner Music South Africa and released her fourth studio album, “Mgodi”. The album went Gold in just 6 hours.
•Country Girl (2015)
•The Beginning Live
•Nelson Mandela (EP)
•Lengoma (with DJ Sbu)
•Thetha Nami (with Riot)
Performances & Media Presence
Zahara is known for her very entertaining live performances. Since starting as a street performer before being discovered, she has honed the art of performing Live.
She is also on social media, sharing goofy videos of herself and her songwriting sessions. She once received backlash after a Live session gave fans the impression that she was drunk. However, she has stated that she does not drink. Zahara boasts hundreds of thousands of followers across all her social media platforms.
As of today, Nedbank is repossessing Zahara’s Roodepoort townhouse home in West of Johanessburg after failing to pay R1.9 million in a mortgage loan. If Zahara cannot pay up her loan by the 7th of May, the bank might auction the house.
Zahara calls out DJ Sbu and TK Nciza for exploiting her over her debut album Loliwe. pic.twitter.com/JQKOYfAknF
— Musa Khawula (@MusaKhawula) May 21, 2022
She is also known for her past financial troubles. She reportedly could not pay off a ZAR1.9 million mortgage from Nedbank, a ZAR400,000 loan for a 2014 Range Rover Evoque SUV, and ZAR620,000 for an Audi A5 drop-top coupe acquired in 2012.
Zahara was previously in a relationship with Ian Sibiya. The couple celebrated their second anniversary in 2019 but ended up breaking up. The rumour was that Ian was worried about his personal life being publicized on social media.
Zahara has since began a new romance with a pastor. She revealed that she wants to be in a relationship with a God-fearing man saying she derives her ambition from her parents who are Christian. She has hinted on getting married to him saying “might get married soon” or “before the end of the year”.
Zahara’s actual worth is not public at the moment. However, ZALebs reports that she’s worth an estimated R15million although she has had some financial troubles in the past. But, based on what she has in her musical portfolio and future sales out look, her performance on major streaming services, properties, her net worth is estimated to be around $500,000 – $3 Million.
Songs Download, Stream, Buy & Watch
Zahara’s songs are available on all major digital downloads and music streaming platforms including Spotify, Apple Music, Soundcloud, YouTube, Deezer, TuneIn and many more.