Zahara Biography| Age, Education, Career, Personal Life, Death
Zahara, real name Bulelwa Mkutukana, is a renowned South African singer and songwriter.
Age And Education
Zahara was born on November 9, 1987, in the Phumlani Informal Settlement in Eastern Cape, South Africa.
She was raised by her parents, Nokhaya and Mlamli Mkutukana, alongside six siblings.
Zahara began singing in her school choir at six and was promoted to the senior choir at the age of nine because of her powerful voice.
Zahara’s career began with street performances as a busker in East London before catching the attention of TK Nciza and being signed to the TS Records label.
In 2011, she released her debut album, Loliwe, which was a massive success. The first issue of the album sold out in just 72 hours, and within 19 days, it had sold over 100,000 copies, achieving double platinum status in South Africa.
Zahara’s second studio album, Phendula, was released in 2013 and won three South African Music Awards.
Later that year, she was invited to perform a private bedside concert for Nelson Mandela at his home. Inspired by the experience, she composed “Nelson Mandela” in honour of the anti-apartheid revolutionary and released it as an EP.
Tragically, in July 2014, Zahara’s younger brother was murdered in East London. Zahara revealed that she went through a period of depression following his death but was able to recover and release her album, Country Girl, in 2015.
In 2017, Zahara signed a contract with Warner Music South Africa. Later that year, on October 13, she released her fourth studio album, Mgodi.
The album was an instant hit and achieved gold status only six hours after its release.
After a break of four years, Zahara announced her fifth studio album and released the album’s lead single, “Nyamezela“, on May 7, 2021.
Later, on July 30, 2021, she released a second single, “Nqaba Yam“.
The album’s original release date of July 9, 2021, was postponed due to COVID-19 lockdown. It was finally released on August 13, 2021.
At the 2012 South African Music Awards, held on May 1, Zahara’s exceptional talent was recognized with eight awards, including “Best Female Artist” and “Album of the Year”.
Her second album won Best Selling Album, Best R&B, Soul and Reggae Album, and Best Female Artist of the Year.
Zahara’s talent was again celebrated the following year as she won two awards, “Best Female” and “Best Artist 3”, at the Eastern Cape Music Awards in 2015.
Zahara was in a relationship with Ian Sibiya, with whom she celebrated their second anniversary in 2019.
However, the couple eventually parted ways. Reports suggest that Ian was concerned about their personal life being exposed on social media, contributing to the breakup.
In 2023, Zahara’s partner, engineer Mpho Xaba, hogged the headlines after it was reported that he had asked the celebrated award-winning singer for her hand in marriage.
Death and controversies surrounding her death
Zahara sadly died on December 11 2023, in a private Johannesburg hospital. The singer was battling liver complications. She was admitted into the hospital in November and died two weeks after her admission. The singer is rumoured to have died with her new husband beside her.
Zahara’s short illness and death have been smeared with controversy as the family suspects foul play. A day before news of Zahara’s death, there was news that the star had allegedly been poisoned during her lobola ceremony.