Zahara is presently appearing in her reality TV show titled Zahara: As I Rise, which premiered on SABC1 in February 2023, and her net worth is estimated at R15 million.
Bulelwa Mkutukana, professionally known as Zahara, achieved unprecedented success soon after kicking off her music career in 2011. She, however, faced several challenges which led to her career taking a downward trajectory. Nevertheless, the ‘Phendula’ hitmaker made a comeback in February 2023 with a reality show about her life, family, and music career.
What Is Zahara Doing Now?
In August 2022, Zahara disclosed that she was working on an upcoming reality show. She said that many people approached her for a reality show, and she agreed to allow cameras into her home as she wished to tell her story her way and to set the record straight regarding all that has been said about her in the media.
On February 4th, 2023, Zahara’s reality show, Zahara: As I Rise, began airing on SABC1. The show gives a glimpse into the singer’s life, shedding light on her musical career, financial woes, personal struggles, family, and love life. Also, the show is created to expose the truth about friendships. Hence, Zahara’s friends and family get to do diary sessions as part of the reality series.
Regarding her love life, the platinum-selling artist got engaged to her engineer boyfriend, Mpho Xaba, in March 2023. The two dated for six months before Mpho decided to take the relationship to another level. Organized by her PA and partner, Zahara’s surprise engagement took place at her home in Johannesburg and was witnessed by her family and friends.
What Is Zahara’s Age Now?
Zahara, whose real name is Bulelwa Mkutukana, is presently 36 years old. She was born on November 9th, 1987, in East London, and her zodiac sign is Scorpio. At the age of 23, Zahara’s professional career took off, and before turning 25, she had won eight South African Music Awards. Today, she has bagged more than 40 awards, including Album of the Year and Best Female Artist.
— ZAHARA (@ZaharaSA) March 22, 2023
Zahara’s Net Worth
According to reports, Zahara is worth about R15 million, and this includes her radio and TV royalties. It’s no secret that the East London-born has faced some financial challenges in recent times. And she has accused her former record label, TS Records, owned by DJ Sbu and TK Nciza, of owning her millions of rands and threatened to take legal action against them.
She claimed that the record label executives underpaid her for her performances, royalties for when her songs were played, and the sale of her records. With the figures alleged to be between R10 million and R30 million, TK Nciza has laughed off Zahara’s claims and denied that the record label owns the talented instrumentalist.
Also, Zahara is reported to have lost some of her fortunes to her excessive drinking lifestyle. She went through a period of depression after her family was struck by tragedy. The songstress lost her younger brother in July 2014 as he was murdered in East London. His demise greatly affected her life, and she found solace in alcohol drinking.
Sadly, in March 2021, Zahara’s drinking habit escalated following the loss of her sister, Nomonde, in an accident that took place on N2 in East London. Zahara’s sister was run over by a taxi on the side of the N2 while checking a fault in her car. Despite accusations of still being addicted to alcohol, the famed guitarist has made it clear that she has been sober for some time now.
A Look at How Zahara accumulated her Wealth
Commercially Successful Albums
After signing a record deal with TS Records, Bulelwa adopted her stage name, ‘Zahara’ which means blooming flower in Arabic. The 36-year-old makes afro soul music and sings in her native language of isiXhosa. Her debut album, ‘Loliwe’ was dropped on September 6th, 2011, and achieved much success.
The first issue of the album was sold out within 72 hours, and after nineteen days, it sold tens of thousands of copies. Thus, gaining a double platinum certification from the Recording Industry of South Africa (RiSA). Consequently, Zahara emerged as the second musician after Brenda Fassie to achieve such a feat. The album eventually became the second fastest-selling album in SA after selling over 500,000 copies.
Additionally, Zahara’s live DVD, ‘The Beginning Live’ which was released in 2012, was certified platinum in one day. Her second studio album, ‘Phendula’ was also a commercial success as it clinched the SAMA Award for Best Selling Album. In likewise manner, ‘Mgodi’, which is Zahara’s fourth album, is a best-selling album.
It was certified gold by RiSA after six hours of release and then attained platinum certification after 20 hours of release. Following the release of ‘Mgodi’ on October 13th, 2017, the celebrated singer took a four-year break and returned with the announcement of a fifth album titled, ‘Nqaba Yam’. The album was released on August 13th, 2021.
- Stay featuring 2 Face Idibia
- Mandela feat. Mzwakhe Mbuli
- My Story
- Umfazi feat. Kirk Whalum
- Love Is in the Air
- Hold On (Bambelela) feat. LeRoy Bell
- Liza Lisidinga Lakho featuring Soweto Gospel Choir
- Nqaba Yam (2021)
- Mgodi (2017)
- Country Girl (2015)
- Phendula (2013)
- The Beginning Live (2012)
- Loliwe (2011)
Tonight it’s a date in Xai Xai celebrating 12yrs in the industry, from 1.Loliwe 2.Phendula 3.CountryGirl 4.Mgodi 5.NqabaYam. Thank you everybody.👸🏼🎤💃🏽🎸 pic.twitter.com/e3KeDTUCGz
— ZAHARA (@ZaharaSA) March 24, 2023
Throughout her career, Zahara has had numerous gigs and performed in many countries around the world, from which she has built her net worth. She has had performances in Kenya, Zimbabwe, the United States, and Canada. In August 2019, she kicked off her Africa All-Star Music Festival in Toronto, Canada. She then ended the tour the same month in Washington, DC, USA.
It’s noteworthy that the music star was invited by former president Nelson Mandela to perform at his home at a private bedside concert in the year 2013. After her performance, Madiba told her that she was very special and South Africa was blessed to have her. He also blessed her, praying that the stars may shine upon her wherever she goes. Zahara has cited the moment as a memory she would never forget in her life.
Numerous Award Wins
Bulelwa Mkutukana is a recipient of over 40 awards. Though not all award wins come with prize money, a few still get attached to cash prizes. Over the years, the super-talented guitarist has taken home awards such as:
- 2012 SAMA Awards for Album of the Year, Female Artist of the Year, Newcomer of the Year, Best Selling Album, Best Collaboration, Best Smooth Urban Music Album, Remix of the Year, and Best Selling Full-Track Download of the Year
- 2012 Kora Awards for Best Female Artist from Southern Africa
- 2012 Channel O Music Video Award for Best Female Video
- 2013 SAMA Awards for Best Collaboration and Best Selling Ring Back Tone
- 2014 SAMA Awards for Female Artist of the Year and Best Selling Album
- 2014 African Muzik Magazine Award for Best Female Southern Africa
- 2020 Africa Entertainment Award USA for Best Female Artist
What Happened to Zahara’s House?
Zahara’s house was nearly repossessed by the bank for her failure to meet up with her mortgage payments. In April 2019, Sunday World reported that the ‘Loliwe’ hitmaker was in huge debt. The publication stated that Nedbank brought an application to repossess Zahara’s R1.9 million gated home in suburban Little Falls, west of Johannesburg which she obtained with a mortgage loan in 2012, and Zahara failed to oppose the application.
Later in early May 2022, Zahara opened up about her house being set to be auctioned by Nedbank on May 7th as she defaulted on her monthly installments of R17,665 for her R1.9 million home loan. She made her last payment back on June 30th, 2017, and the total outstanding amount was R1,731,684.62.
100 rand x 10000 =1 million
Most of us have over a million followers
Can we kindly do a 100 rand challenge for zahara please 🙏🙏🙏
She has already lost a lot. If this is true can we help. 🙏🙏🙏
— Ladydu (@Ladydu_sa) May 1, 2022
After pleading with the bank, the singer was given extra days to pay the loan, and with assistance from her fans who raised money for her, Zahara was able to clear the mortgage loan and now owns the house. Sadly, a month before Nedbank threatened to repossess her house, six SAMA awards were stolen from Zahara’s hour.
It happened that an intruder entered her house while she traveled for the Easter holiday and made away with the awards. The Xhosa native asked the person to return the awards, even if it was by dropping them at her gate. She later opened a case with the Honeydew police station, and the matter was investigated. The outcome, however, is yet to be made public.
Zahara Grew up Singing in the Streets of East London
Zahara was born the sixth child of her parents, Mlamli and Nokhaya Mkutukana. She was raised in the Phumlani informal settlements outside of East London in the Eastern Cape. Following her love for spinach vegetables which her mother cultivated in their garden, her family nicknamed her “Spinach.”
At the age of six, Bulelwa Mkutukana began singing in her church choir and school. She later joined her school’s senior choir when she was nine years old because of her strong voice. Although she completed her basic education, she was unable to acquire tertiary education due to her family’s low financial status at the time. Zahara was left at home most time, and it was then she discovered a guitar in the house.
Over time, she became good at playing the guitar as she taught herself how to play the musical instrument. Subsequently, she started busking on the streets of East London. And there, she was discovered by TS Records, which ended up offering her a record deal.