Top 10 Richest African Artists: Black Coffee And Masekela Lead The Pack

A list of Africa’s top 10 richest artists reportedly released by Forbes has been circulating the cyberspace. And, South Africa’s prominent artists – Black Coffee and Hugh Masekela – were respectively listed therein in the 2nd and 3rd place.

According to reports, the top ten richest African music artists were determined by a number of factors such as endorsements, brand value, earnings, bookings, popularity, and social media presence.

Though not more than two South African artists were named in the “Forbes list”, it had Nkosinathi Maphumulo coming as the second richest African music artist while Johannesburg’s Hugh Masekela came third.

Nkosinathi Maphumulo AKA Black Coffee

Nkosinathi Maphumulo whose stage name is Black Coffee did not only promote South African Music across the African borders but has put it on the world map.

The multi-award winning South African record producer and DJ began his music career around 1995 while he was still in High School, singing in the school choir and studying how to play the keyboard. His big break came in 2004 after he was chosen as a participant in the Red Bull Music Academy held in Cape Town.  He has since then, released seven albums and a live DVD under his Johannesburg-based record label, Soulistic Music.

DJ Black-Coffee

He was born in KwaZulu-Natal on 11 March 1976 but was raised in the Eastern Cape province, where struggle stalwart Nelson Mandela hailed from, before moving back to KZN to study music.

Emerging as the second richest Musician in Africa just after the international African superstar, Akon, Black Coffee is arguably the most prominent electronic music producer in Africa.

Black Coffee has won numerous awards including best male artists, Most talented male artist, SAMA best dance album.  In 2016 alone, the well-known artist won the SAMA Best album of the year, BET Award for Best International Act: Africa, and DJ Awards Best Deep House DJ.

He also holds a record of the professional DJs in the world – this he earned when he DJed 60 hours non-stop at Maponya Mall. This feat led to his induction into the Guinness Book of World Records in 2010.

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Hugh Masekela

Next on the line is South Africa’s a renowned trumpeter, flugelhornist, cornetist, composer and singer, Hugh Masekela also known as the father of American television host Sal Masekela.

Masekela was born in Kwa-Guqa Township, Witbank, South Africa – a coal mining settlement near Johannesburg on 4 April 1939. His father was a health inspector and sculptor, and his mother a social worker.

Hugh fell in love with music at the age of four when he witnessed a celebrity band play at his aunt’s wedding where he served as a pageboy. He got his own trumpet at the age of 14 and the rest is history.

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He started his music career in 1959 when he joined a host of others in producing the first African jazz group to record.


Hugh Masekela was committed to restoring African heritage with his music. He has more than 43 albums to his credit and has performed with internationally recognised artist like Marvin Gaye, Dizzy Gillespie, The Byrds, Fela Kuti, Paul Simon, Stevie Wonder and Miriam Makeba.

He won the Best Contemporary Pop Performance – Instrumental in 1968 and was a recipient of two Grammy Award nominations for his two albums Grazin’ in the Grass and Jabulani, awarded in 1968 and 2011 respectively.

His other awards include 2010, Ghana Music Awards, 2007 African Music Legend award, 2005 Channel O Music Video Awards, Lifetime Achievement Award, 2002 BBC Radio Jazz Awards, International Award of the Year, nominated for Broadway’s 1988 Tony Award as Best Score (Musical), with music and lyrics collaborator Mbongeni Ngema,
for “Sarafina!”.

According to People With Money, Masekela was one of the highest-paid musicians in the world, pulling in an astonishing $96 million between March 2014 and March 2015, a nearly $60 million lead over his closest competition.

The multi-awarding winning artist popularly known and referred to as the father of South African jazz died on Tuesday, January 23, 2018, at the age of 78, after a long and courageous battle with prostate cancer.

Bra Hugh as he was also popularly called had in 2017 issued a statement that he had been fighting prostate cancer since 2008 and would have to cancel his professional commitments to focus on his health.

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The List of the richest musicians in Africa released by Forbes came in this chronological order:

1. Akon – Senegal

2. Black Coffee – South Africa

3. Hugh Masekela – South Africa

4. Don Jazzy – Nigeria

5. Tinashe – Zimbabwe

6. Jidenna – Nigeria

7. Wizkid – Nigeria

8. Davido – Nigeria

9. Sarkodie – Ghana

10. Oliver Mtukudzi – Zimbabwe

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Rachael Gumede
Rachael Gumede
Rachael is a content developer and a huge music geek. Her natural storytelling abilities combined with her quick thinking, and critical evaluations makes her the queen of addictive stories. When she is not writing about people and events that matter, she is probably listening or dancing to some real, cool jams.


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