20 South African Songs You Should Really Listen To


If you were below the age of 18 in the 90’s, it would be difficult to forget the TV series “Shaka Zulu” that aired on one of our local stations. And if the painted faces worn with costumes made out of hide didn’t do it for you, there was the impossible to forget soundtrack. It was soulful, almost in a literal sense. With Stella Khumalo’s voice being beautiful – If a voice can be described as such. “We are growing” was the title of the song that was essentially the first taste of South African music for many people in the continent. The story line, the dance and the soundtrack came together to make a part of what is nothing less than a childhood experience.

To date, the most popular South African artists include; Miriam Makeba & Hugh Masekela, the power house couple, Ladysmith black Mambazo, Yvonne Chaka Chaka, Lira and HHP. And as far as genres go there’s kwaito which was brought to center stage for many Africans by DJ Cleo among others. Isicathamiya and mbube are styles that were introduced by Ladysmith. Not forgetting the beloved Zulu, rock, afro-pop and others that would be a task just to spell out.

South African Music Worth Listening To

The following is a list of some of the best South African songs that have carved a notable niche:

1. Ringo Madlingozi – Sondela

Perhaps a South African would explain what it means but for me the vocals and the repetitive word “sondela” will suffice.

2. Lira – Phakade

This was a difficult choice having to pick out of the hits by the beautiful songstress.

3. Miriam Makeba – Pata Pata

Notably her most popular hit from 1957, this song gave her the much needed platform to be the first artist from Africa to popularize African music to the rest of the world.

4. DJ Cleo – Wena Ng’hambi Nawe

Hoping I got the spelling right it’s another of those catchy tracks but whose title you couldn’t pronounce to save your life.

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