Zahara obsessed with Shona language

Langalakhe Mabena
South African multi-award-winning songbird Bulelwa Mkutukana otherwise known as Zahara in the global music scene can’t get over her obsession with one of Zimbabwe’s native languages, Shona.

When she announced herself on the international Jazz stage courtesy of her first album Loliwe (2011) which sold a double platinum in less than two weeks after its release, a song Incwad’ Encane would find a slot in the global record-breaking album.

Zimbabwean radio personality George Munetsi would make a guest appearance on the love ballad craftily weaving together Zahara’s Xhosa lyrics with him complementary singing in Shona.

If one does the math, the Phendula hitmaker has toured Harare on many occasions compared to Bulawayo, a place which hubs Ndebele and Xhosa natives that Zahara can relate with.

In an exclusive interview with B-Metro, she discloses that she loves Shona.

“I am so much in love with the Shona language because it’s not similar to Xhosa, it’s so fun to explore African languages. I have done many songs in Shona including Incwad’Encane with George, and Umsebenzi Wam,” said Zahara.

Up to the minute, Zahara featured on Jah Prayzah’s latest album Hokoyo where she sang smooth and fluently in both Shona and Xhosa on the song Kana Ndada.

She said for a long time she was longing to work with Jah Prayzah.

“Jah is a good friend of mine and we have been planning to work on something together for years. When the opportunity came, we were both so excited because we knew when we combine forces something good will come out of it.

“Working with him made me realise and believe the talent Zimbabwe is blessed with. I really can’t wait to work on more projects with Zimbabweans because I believe this is how we grow as artistes,” said Zahara.

Bulawayo is close to her heart and it troubles her that she is less invited to the City of Kings.

“Bulawayo is one of my favourite cities in Africa because of its cultural diversity. I really miss singing for my fans there as its people are wonderful. I am looking forward to being invited more frequently to the city after the lockdown,” she said.

Meanwhile, Zahara is back in the studio working on her 5th solo album despite the Covid-19 setbacks.

“It’s not easy to have my full band in studio at the same time. However, we are waiting for the government (of South Africa) to give us the green light and we start working. I believe this is my most personal work in my career,” said Zahara.

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