Top 10 South African Musicians Of All Time

The richness in South African music can be traced back a few generations. This goes to show that the current state of our music industry, the rapid speed at which it is growing owes to the strong back ground and the pillars of the industry.

It takes a certain type of talent to get into the industry, do well and yet remain relevant throughout generations to come. This list will highlight 10 of the best musicians in South Africa.

1. Brenda Fassie


Born in 1964 in Langa, a township near Cape Town Brenda Fassie was named after the American country singer Brenda Lee. In 2001, Time magazine featured a three page special on Brenda, calling her “The Madonna of the Townships”. During the last few years of her life she regularly toured the African continent as well as America.

Throughout the decade Brenda also established herself as a great solo pop star. In the late 1980s she began working with producer Sello “Chicco” Twala, a partnership that proved to be one of the most successful in the South African music business. The album Too Late for Mama, which was born from this duo, achieved platinum status in 1989.

2. MiriamMakeba

South African singer and human rights campaigner, Miriam Makeba was the first vocalist to put African music onto the international map in the 1960s. She was well known throughout the world known as ‘Mama Africa’ and the ‘Empress of African Song’.

Mirriam Makeba has received honorary doctorates from both local and international academic institutions. The city of Berkeley proclaimed the 16 June to be Miriam Makeba Day and she has received the highest decoration from Tunisia and in 1999, Nelson Mandela presented her with the Presidential Award.

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