Multi-award-winning AfroPop star Bulelwa “Zahara” Mkututana has passed away.
The news of her passing was confirmed by Arts and Culture Minister Zizi Kodwa.
In a late-night tweet, the minister said he was very saddened by the passing of the singer and expressed his deepest condolences to her family and the South African music industry.
He remembered Zahara as having made an incredible and lasting impact on South African music.
Two weeks ago, Zahara’s family posted a statement on her social media accounts, responding to media reports she had taken ill.
According to the posts, the 35-year-old singer had been admitted to hospital suffering “physical pains” and that doctors had been treating her – she passed away on Monday at a private hospital. The cause of death has not yet been revealed.
The singing sensation released her first studio album in 2011, called Loliwe, which went double platinum.
Two years later, her second album Phendula also rocked the charts, producing three top singles – Phendula, Impilo and Stay.
And she did it again in 2015, with Country Girl, which went triple platinum, and then Nqaba Yam – her fifth album which hit number one on iTunes.
The self-taught guitarist scooped 17 SAMusic awards, three Metro FM awards and a Nigeria Entertainment award.
Social media has been flooded with messages of condolence, with many expressing their shock and sadness at the news.
Singer-songwriter, Lady Zamar, tweeted: “She did a lot for the music industry in South Africa – paving the way for so many others with her iconic presence and guitar in hand. She will be missed.”