If you’re a world traveler who fancies music, then you’re probably conversant with the list I’m about to make. That’s to say you’ve at some point enjoyed the sounds of the greatest musicians from South Africa on your stereo, iPod, CD player or radio and you completely understand what “great” means in this context.
Now if you still can’t figure out any one or two musicians that fit in my list perfectly well, then you’re probably not familiar with South African music. That said; without further ado, let me take you through the list of the top 10 musicians from South Africa who have managed to earn our respect and world recognition, as well, these are great men and women putting South Africa on the map.
1. Lucky Dube
First on the line, is the late Lucky Dube. To say the truth, we all love reggae music but we sometimes get turned off when a sweet melody does nothing but praise marijuana or talk about dreadlocks. Lucky Dube understood that perfectly, and so he chose to give the world “nutritional” music without selling out his consciousness. And if the world loved him, then it’s because he chose to stand out by being totally different from the rest of the reggae artists. For this reason, he will perpetually be remembered by the world at large.
2. Miriam Makeba
The late Miriam Makeba, best known as Mama Africa, is the first South African singer to have gained tremendous world recognition in the 60s. Other than being a great musician, she was also a formidable fighter against apartheid. And until her death, she sang for justice, humanity and equality. She saw her country being reborn, and apparently as we speak, all the songs she sang in her classic albums like Sangoma and Pata Pata still constitute what we term as the greatest hits of all time.
3. Soweto Gospel Choir
The music that Soweto Gospel Choir releases is what the world best refers to as “food for the soul”. The group blends soulful voices to feed you with joyful gratitude, as well as spiritual and lasting energy. Actually, the group gained international recognition after releasing their first album, “voices from heaven,” which got them a number of international tours. In 2007, their blessed CD got a Grammy award as the best-traditional-world-music.
4. Ladysmith Black Mambazo
Ladies, let’s admit it; our hearts lighten up every time deep male voices grace our stereos in harmony. Their music makes us dream of a peaceful exotic land as our worries and troubles disappear into oblivion. Well, by that am not talking about any other music group, but the one and only Ladysmith Black Mombazo acapella group. So far, this group has over 50 albums, but the album that gave them international fame is the one they recorded with Paul Simon in 1986, “Graceland.” Since then, the group has enjoyed a number of sold out international tours and an increased fan base from all corners of the world.
5. Brenda Fassie
Brenda Fassie, best known as the queen of African pop, is one of the well-acclaimed musicians from South Africa who enjoyed international fame. Until her death, which happened on May 9th 2004, this singer and performer, toured different regions of the world while scooping a number of awards and sharing platforms with some of the greatest international musicians like Whitney Houston, Freshlyground and Lionel Richie.