Whether you enjoy mbaqanga, jazz, rock, folk, gospel, or simply love bubblegum pop – every style of music has one voice, group or band that truly defines each. Here are just a handful of our very own trailblazers, mavericks and icons who have and continue to rock our world each time one of their songs is played.


Mahlathini & The Mahotella Queens
In the 60s, a new and exciting style of music was coming out of shebeens across the country. Of all the many players, they rose through the ranks and became a supergroup, one that took this unique blend of western instrumentation, jazz and charming South African vocals, and shared it with the world.
Fun fact: After performing at the Nelson Mandela 70th birthday tribute concert at London’s Wembley Arena in 1988, the group became international stars.

Sibongile Khumalo
In 1992, the world of music welcomed the arrival of this Soweto-born mezzo-soprano who embraced indigenous music and wove it into a style of opera and jazz distinctly her own. Whether she was performing in Carmen, Aida or Il Trovatore, Sibongile gave the opera world an African accent never quite heard before.
Fun fact: She established a foundation to provide scholarships to up-and-coming talent in the arts.

Dr Trevor Jones
After leaving his home in District Six at the age of 17, having received a scholarship to study at the Royal Academy of Music in London, Trevor Jones set the world alight with musical delight. Few know that this extraordinary talent is recognised as one of the Top Five film composers of all time.

Fun facts:
He has composed music for over 90 film and television projects, including The Last of the Mohicans, Notting Hill, Labyrinth, Cliffhanger and, most recently, To Tokyo.

Miriam Makeba

‘Mama Africa’ was a critical player in shaping Afropop, world music and jazz. Fearless, courageous and under the watchful eye of Harry Belafonte, Miriam’s 1967 smash-hits “Pata Pata” and “The Click Song” are cherished to this day.
Fun Fact: In 2020, Miriam was named 1967's "woman of the year" by Time magazine.

Dave Matthews
Since 1991, Joburg-born Dave Matthews has become one of the highest-grossing live acts of all time. There are few as successful at blending acoustic, alternative, blues and roots rock as he has been, making him an export worthy of praise.
Fun fact: Before music, Dave was an amateur actor.

Joyous Celebration
In 1996, three close friends, Jabu Hlongwane, Lindelani Mkhize and Mthunzi Namba formed a pioneering group. 25 years later, Joyous Celebration continues to take gospel music to new heights, while also launching solo careers for many singers in the choir.
Fun fact: Their Joyous Cares outreach programme serves disadvantaged communities across the country.

Brenda Fassie
Affectionately known as the “Madonna of The Townships”, the sadly departed singer, songwriter, dancer and activist’s legacy lives on almost a decade after her passing. ‘MaBrrr’ was as well known for her wild stage antics as she was for delivering some of pop music’s biggest hits, including “Too Late for Mama” and “Weekend Special”.
Fun fact: Her solo album, Memeza was the best selling album in South Africa in 1998.

Hugh Masekela
Often referred to as, ‘the father of South African jazz’, the revered trumpeter, singer and composer made a career in music composing anti-apartheid jazz anthems, the likes of “Soweto Blues” and his 1968 US pop hit version of “Grazing in the Grass”.
Fun fact: In the 1980s Masekela toured Graceland with Paul Simon.

The 90s were a time of radical change in South Africa. Suddenly artists were being welcomed around the world and Seether accepted the invitation. Three decades in, they’ve turned modern rock upside down with the likes of, “Fine Again” and “Fake It”.
Fun fact: There's a movement among Nirvana fans to have Seether lead singer, Shaun Morgan front the band, should they ever reunite.

Related article: SA’s new wonder kid: Benny Afroe

Moonchild Sanelly
Say the word Amapiona, and the world lights up in musical excitement. This Gauteng-birthed sound has one person taking this African sound to the world, and that’s Moonchild. If you’re looking for torchbearers, this “Yebo Teacher” hitmaker is a true cultural ambassador doing the business.
Fun fact: In 2018, Sanelly went on a European tour with the South African hip hop act, Die Antwoord.

Related article: Empowering Amapiano Esoweto: DJ Stokie

Related article: Amapiano beat with: Mr JazziQ


10 OF OUR GREATEST LOCAL MUSICIANS OF ALL TIME 10 OF OUR GREATEST LOCAL MUSICIANS OF ALL TIME Reviewed by Michelle Pienaar on September 07, 2021 Rating: 5
Powered by Blogger.