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10 women who contributed massively to the South African Music Industry



DJ Zinhle, a huge force in the South African music industry

The South African music industry has been significantly influenced and shaped by numerous talented women across various genres.

As we celebrate International Women’s Day today, we will give flowers to the female musicians who have made indelible contributions to the rich tapestry of South African music, both nationally and internationally.

1. Miriam Makeba:

Also known as Mama Africa, Miriam Makeba was one of the most iconic South African musicians of all time. She gained international acclaim for her powerful voice and her songs which often addressed social and political issues. Makeba’s music blended traditional South African rhythms with jazz, pop, and folk influences.

2. Brenda Fassie:

Known as the “Queen of African Pop,” Brenda Fassie was a highly influential figure in South African music. Her energetic performances and distinctive voice made her one of the most beloved artists in the country. Fassie’s music often addressed social issues and she was an outspoken advocate for LGBT rights.

3. Yvonne Chaka Chaka:

Yvonne Chaka Chaka is a South African singer, songwriter, and entrepreneur. She rose to fame in the 1980s with hits like “I’m in Love with a DJ” and “Thank You Mr. DJ.” Chaka Chaka has been a prominent figure in the fight against HIV/AIDS and has used her music to raise awareness about the disease.

4. Lira (Lerato Molapo):

Lira is a South African singer-songwriter whose soulful voice and uplifting lyrics have earned her widespread acclaim. She has released several successful albums and has won numerous awards, including multiple South African Music Awards (SAMAs). Lira is known for her powerful live performances and her ability to fuse various musical styles, including jazz, soul, and pop.

5. Thandiswa Mazwai:

Thandiswa Mazwai is a highly respected singer-songwriter whose music blends traditional Xhosa rhythms with modern sounds. She gained fame as the lead vocalist for the group Bongo Maffin before launching a successful solo career. Mazwai’s music often addresses themes of identity, politics, and social justice.

6. Busi Mhlongo:

Busi Mhlongo was a singer, dancer, and composer known for her innovative blend of traditional Zulu music with contemporary styles such as jazz, funk, and reggae. She was instrumental in popularizing South African music on the global stage and was revered for her powerful voice and dynamic stage presence.

7. DJ Zinhle:

DJ Zinhle, whose real name is Zinhle Jiyane, has made significant contributions to the South African music industry as a DJ, producer, and entrepreneur. She has broken barriers as one of the leading female DJs in South Africa. She rose to prominence in a male-dominated industry and has inspired many aspiring female DJs to pursue their passion.

8. Busiswa:

Busiswa Gqulu is celebrated for her innovative blend of Gqom, Afro-house, and other South African musical genres. Her unique sound is characterized by infectious beats, catchy melodies, and powerful vocals, which have earned her widespread acclaim both locally and internationally. She has worked with national and international artists. Busiswa is a vocal advocate for gender equality and empowerment in the music industry. She has spoken out against sexism and discrimination, and actively supports and mentors aspiring female artists, helping to pave the way for the next generation of women in music.

9. Nomcebo Zikode:

Nomcebo gained more fame following her feature on Master KG’s hit song, Jerusalmea. Her vocals united the world and exuded peace to the world filled with chaos (COVID period). She has used her platform to advocate for gender equality and empowerment, encouraging other women to pursue their dreams and overcome obstacles in the music industry.

10. Tyla:

Tyla has made significant contributions, particularly in the Afro-pop and Amapiano genres. Despite being new to the music scene, she has collaborated with some of South Africa’s biggest music stars. She has worked with renowned artists such as DJ Maphorisa, Kabza De Small, and Major League DJz, further solidifying her status as a rising talent in the industry. Tyla bagged her first Grammy win at the age of 22 in February and she’s caught the attention of international stars, who fell in love with her through her hit record, Water.

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