South Africans love to be entertained, and it is no surprise that they are good at producing quality entertainment. From movies to music, there is a genre that must appeal to you. One interesting thing about South Africa’s entertainment industry is that it promotes homegrown talents. Blaq Diamond, from its inception, has continued to produce music that is truly South African and speaks to the people.
Blaq Diamond is a South African Afro-Pop group from Ladysmith in the KwaZulu-Natal province. The group has culture at the core of what they do and has been able to infuse cultural elements into pop music. This has helped them to create a unique genre. They can best be described as natural talents who are not afraid to be true to their roots. The group’s name is styled BlaQ Diamond. Another interesting fact about these amazing talents is that they can be described as self-made, which is an achievement not easy to come by in the Rainbow nation
Who Are The Members of Blaq Diamond?
The musical group consists of two young and super talented artists from the small town of Ladysmith. The journey to what became known as Blaq Diamond began in 2010 when fate brought together two young teens passionate about music but unaware of what the future had in store for them. Ndumiso Mdletshe and Siphelele Dunywa met on a bus while on a school trip back in 2010. While on the trip, the duo was involved in a rap challenge, much to the delight of their colleagues.
Following their chance meeting on the bus, the duo discovered that they had one thing in common; the love for music. They became close friends henceforth and nurtured their shared interests. They performed at school functions just to showcase their talent, which had also become a hubby. The duo also performed for free within their community. These performances helped to boost their profile within their community and its environs.
Are The Members of Blaq Diamond Biological Brothers?
The members of Blaq Diamond share a special bond that amazes both their fans and the public. This special relationship has led many to wonder if there is more to their friendship than music. The guessing game continues, but the good news is that the truth is no longer a secret. Ndumiso Mdletshe and Siphelele Dunywa do not share a familial relationship, and they are not brothers. However, they have a lot in common as they share the same Zulu ethnicity. The duo was also born in 1994, and they hail from the same community in KwaZulu Natal. They are also closer than most brothers are.
How They Picked The Name “BlaQ Diamond”
Having found friendship and a shared passion for music, Ndu and Danya decided to grow their music career as partners and became a group. Next was the difficult task of finding a brand name that could represent them and also click with their fans. We all know that names carry deep meanings in Africa and say a lot about the person or thing that it represents. After careful thoughts, they decided to go for something that had a Mzansi catch to it and could also embody the message they hoped to pass to their listeners.
South Africa is famous for its natural resources, especially solid minerals, and is littered with gold and diamond mines. While you can chance on a piece of precious diamond if luck and fate smile on you, the black diamonds are rare to find, and as such, they are considered to be of immense value. Ndu and Danya were convinced from the start of their journey that what they were bringing into the industry as budding artists were unique and rare and chose the name ‘BlaQ Diamond,’ which is most befitting for their mission.
Their music tells their stories and often pays homage to their hometown Ladysmith. Their story is worth telling as it resonates with many young South Africans struggling to make ends meet and fulfill their dreams. They hope by reflecting on their struggles from the little town of Ladysmith to fighting for survival on the streets of Johannesburg as teenagers in their music, others, especially young people, will find the encouragement to keep their dreams alive and do what is right within their power to make them come true. Hope is at the core of their message.
The Music Group, Blaq Diamond, Was Formed In 2010
Blaq Diamond has been in existence since 2010, when the duo met in their ninth grade. And has since then enjoyed a gradual but steady rise to stardom. As the group’s popularity spread beyond the small town of Ladysmith, they began to envisage a bigger stage for themselves. Johannesburg is a place of immense possibilities, and so the duo left KwaZulu Natal for Gauteng’s most populous city in search of greener pastures.
Johannesburg did not offer the youngsters their dream life and career on a platter of gold. Contrary to their expectations, they found life a lot more difficult than they had imagined and learned the tough lesson that it required more than talent to launch into South Africa’s highly competitive music industry. They needed to be discovered by the right people and themselves; they had to up their game, and this required money which, of course, they did not have.
A Look at How Blaq Diamond Rose to Prominence
Left with no support system, they had to take up employment to make ends meet and also fund their musical ambitions. This was a tough decision to make, but there was no other option left for the incredible pair. Another challenge they faced was the type of music that they were making. The sound was not what people were used to, and record houses were reluctant to gamble with something new.
While they worked, they used their spare time to fine-tune their musical skills, and it was not long before luck smiled on their hard work and determination. The group got signed up on the record label Ambitiouz Entertainment, a South African label founded in 2015 by Kgosi Mahumapelo. Their choice of record label seems to have worked out well for them.
They Released Their First Album In 2017
From this moment going forward, their lives changed. They released their debut album Inqola, a fusion of Maskandi and umBhaqanga remodeled with a youthful touch in the winter of 2017. This Afro-soul album was well received by the public. It created such an awesome first impression for Blaq Diamond, and within a short time, they were on the way to becoming Mzansi music stars.
Inqola earned them their first iTunes number one, which was a great achievement for first-timers in the industry. It was also nominated twice for the prestigious annual South Africa Music Awards (SAMA). The fame and accolades generated by this album gave them a bigger stage and audience. The following year they were among selected artists invited to perform at a fashion show in Pietermaritzburg.
Despite The Relative Success Of The First Album, Blaq Diamond’s Break Came 1n 2019
Blaq Diamond’s shot at fame came in 2019, and they did not miss the target. On May 2, 2019, they released a single titled Memeza featuring Sjava. The single was part of a forthcoming album. The single was quick to peak at number 9 Radio Airplay Charts. It also received positive reviews and mesmerized their fans. Their second single for the year was released on August 2, 2019, and it was titled Ibhanoyi. This single cemented their place in the industry.
The song made it to number one on iTunes and later won Record of the year at the 26th South Africa Music Awards ceremony. The song was highly rated by music lovers. It is also Blaq Diamond’s most viewed song on YouTube and is also available on Spotify. Having earned their mark in the industry, Blaq Diamond continued to rock the airwaves with positive vibes. Throughout this period, their reputation soared as Mzansi’s newest music sensation.
Their third single, Love Letter, came on January 23, 2020. It was yet another hit from the duo and added to their already growing fame. The single peaked at number 3 on iTunes charts effortlessly and went up to number 11 on Radio Airplay Charts. The song was right on time and became very popular during the Valentine of 2020.
The group’s second album, “Umuthi,” landed on January 31, 2020, and as expected, it was yet another sensational hit. The title is significant as the isiZulu word ‘Umuthi’ translates to ‘medicine’ in English and was intended to bring the message of healing. The album contained their three chart-topping singles, “Memeza,” “Love Letter,” and “Ibhanoyi.” Blaq Diamond featured Sjava, CiCi, Thee Legacy, and Igcokama Elisha on the album. It was no surprise that their second album made it to number one on iTunes charts and received critical acclaim.
Blaq Diamond Has Expanded Their Scope of Influence Beyond Singing
Blaq Diamond expanded their horizon and decided to do more than sing. They ventured into music production probably to lend a helping hand to upcoming artists without adequate funding and connections to attract the attention of big labels. In June 2020, they founded Umuthi Records, which they named after their second album. And the music production company was a dream come true for the music stars. Umuthi Records was created in partnership with the record label they are signed on, which is Ambitiouz Entertainment.
As an established household name in the Rainbow nation, Blaq Diamond began to get featured by equally chart-topping artists. They featured in DJ Miss Pru’s songs “Price to Pay” and “Uhulumeni” in 2020. Both songs were well received by fans and topped the charts. Later in the year, they released a mesmerizing single, Messiah, in which they featured Dumi Mkokstad. The single amassed a whooping three million views on YouTube shortly after it was released.
Blaq Diamond shone at the 27th All Africa Music Awards as their song “Summer YoMuthi” was nominated for eight different categories in the awards ceremony. These categories were: Best Male Artiste in African Inspirational Music, Breakout Artiste of the Year, Best Male Artiste in Southern Africa, Artiste of the Year in Africa, Song of the Year in Africa, Best Artiste, Duo or Group in African Pop, and Best African Duo, Group or Band. The group also performed at the awards ceremony. 2021 has been good to the group, and it would have been nice for all these nominations to have become awards.
List of Blaq Diamond’s Popular Songs
- Love Letter
- Blaq Diamond Ibhanoyi
- Memeza ft. Sjava
- Woza my Love
- Blaq Diamond Sthandwa
Blaq Diamond Discography
- Inqola (2017)
- Summer yoUmuthi (2020)
The Group Has Received Several Awards and Nominations
Blaq Diamond may be relatively new on the South Africa music scene, but they have won notable awards and received commendable nominations for their music. Their awards include:
- Song of the Year (2020) – South African Music Awards (SAMA)
- Artist of the Year (2021) – South African Music Awards (SAMA)
Other nominations Blaq Diamond has received besides the ones already mentioned for All Africa Music Awards, AFRIMA 2021 include:
- Afro Pop Album of the Year, SAMA 2020
- Newest Find, KZN Entertainment Awards 2020
- Best Group, MTV Africa Music Awards 2021, which is still pending.
- Their awards and nominations are a testament to the hard work the duo put into what they do.
Blaq Diamond is believed to be a mega success story because of the unique nature of their sounds and also the messages that their music conveys to their audience. The message of hope and healing which they spread through their melodies is often thought to be too deep for people as young as they are. But the duo seems to have given due consideration to what they wanted to do with their talent before venturing into the industry as youngsters and have remained committed to their niche, which makes their music to be iconic. The lesson to take from these legends in the making is that you can always rise above your limitations if you do not give up.