Mzansi Profiles! Local,People Abigail Kubheka Biography| Early Life, Music and Acting Career, Filmography, Awards

Abigail Kubheka Biography| Early Life, Music and Acting Career, Filmography, Awards

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Abigail Kubheka is an iconic multi-award-winning South African singer, songwriter and actress.

Early Life

Abigail Kubeka was born in 1941 in Orlando East, Soweto’s first formal township. Abigail Kubheka attended a missionary boarding school in Kilnerton, near Pretoria. At an early age, Khubeka displayed her talent for singing at school.


Sophiatown in the 1950s was a vibrant cultural hub, where music and jazz flourished in a way unprecedented in South Africa. It was from this dynamic environment that Abigail Kubheka emerged as an artist and performer, becoming one of the legendary figures who helped define the country’s musical and cultural identity during that era.


Abigail Kubheka Biography

Abigail Kubheka Biography (Image Credit: SowetanLive)

Kubheka’s career took off in 1957 when, at the young age of 16, she was invited by the renowned Miriam Makeba to join her Skylarks ensemble, which also included the legendary Letta Mbulu and Mary Rabotaba. The Skylarks, along with other groups like the Jazz Maniacs, were instrumental in promoting the marabi and mbaqanga styles of music.

Kubheka’s talents continued to blossom, and she went on to understudy Makeba in the famous international jazz opera “King Kong,” which toured successfully in Europe. In the 1960s, she accompanied musical giants like Abdullah Ibrahim (then Dollar Brand) and Kippie Moeketsi in cabaret performances in Hillbrow’s nightclubs.

Throughout her illustrious career, Kubheka has performed with critical acclaim across Africa, Europe, and Asia, sharing the stage with renowned artists such as Eartha Kitt, Percy Sledge, and Monk Montgomery. She has also developed a successful acting career, appearing in films, television, and on stage, including roles in “Hijack,” “The Line,” “King Afrika,” and “Our Father, Ma’s got the Blues, Amen.”

Abigail Kubheka Biography

Abigail Kubheka Biography (Image Credit: Bona Magazine/ Elysian Management)


Kubheka’s versatility and artistry have earned her wide recognition. She has performed at high-profile events, such as the first Miss World Pageant held in South Africa in 1992 and the opening ceremony of the All Africa Games in 1999. She has also had the honor of performing for former President Nelson Mandela and Queen Elizabeth II.

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Throughout her illustrious career, Kubheka has remained a champion of South African music, singing in various languages, including Afrikaans. She has written and arranged many of her own songs, including an updated version of the Skylarks‘ classic “Yini Madoda,” which captures the resilience and unbroken spirit of rural women.

On television, Kubheka is well-known for her role as Zondiwe Mogale in the SABC TV series Generations: The Legacy. She has also appeared in international productions like Holby City and Wild at Heart.

Kubheka’s contributions to the cultural fabric of South Africa have been immeasurable, cementing her legacy as one of the country’s most celebrated and influential artists.



– 1969 Knock-Out
– 1971 Diary of Thandi as Sis’May
– 1973 Joe Bullet as Beauty
– 1987 City of Blood as Maureen
– 1990 Last Year’s Queen
– 1995 Cry, the Beloved Country as Mrs. Mkize
– 2001 The Long Run as Bar Lady
– 2001 An Activists 2: Long Walk as Madikizela
– 2010 Kasi Movies:Elalini as Anele
– 2015 The Jakes Are Missing as Grace
– 2016 An African American as Wajé Seleste
– 2017 Morning, Mandela
– 2018 What’s The Deal as Shantel “Abram’s’


– 2005 Holby City as Paulina Griffin
– 2007-2011 Wild at Heart as Cebile/Mrs. Fatani
– 2014–present Generations as Zondiwe Mogale
– 2020 Queen Sono

Awards and Nominations

– Woman of our Time Award (1986)
– Wamela Music Awards (Won – Lifetime Achievement Award 2001)
– Durban Film Festival (Nominated – Actress In Supporting Role 2014)
– South African Film and Television Award (Won – Best Actress, The Long Run 2015)
– SAM Awards (Nominated – Singer of the Year 2017)

Personal Life

Not much is known about her marital status, however she has 2 children.


Five minutes with Mam’Abigail Kubeka on Freedom Day

TVSA- Abigail Khubeka


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