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Renowned South African musician Zahara has died at 35

 Renowned South African musician Zahara. (Instagram/Zaharasa)

Renowned musician Zahara, born Bulelwa Mkutukana, has tragically died at the age of 35.

The multi-award-winning artist breathed her last at a private hospital in Johannesburg on Monday night. The news was confirmed by Minister of Sport, Arts & Culture Zizi Kodwa, who expressed his deep sorrow on social media.

"I am very saddened by the passing of @ZaharaSA. My deepest condolences to the Mkutukana family and the South African music industry. Government has been with the family for some time now. Zahara and her guitar made an incredible and lasting impact in South African music," shared Kodwa on X.

According to reports, Zahara had been hospitalized a week prior, shortly after celebrating her birthday on November 9. The hospitalization followed the payment of lobola (bride price) by her fiancé, Mpho Xaba.

A statement released by the family a week ago read, "Zahara has been admitted to the hospital following a week of complaints about physical pains. The doctors are working diligently, and we await further updates from them."

Despite efforts to maintain confidentiality, misinformation about Zahara's health circulated on the internet. The family emphasized that accurate updates would only be communicated through her official social media platforms.

“Unfortunately, even though our daughter’s hospitalisation has been of strict confidentiality within our family and close friends, that hasn’t stopped the spread of disingenuous information on the internet. We want to stress that any reliable information regarding Zahara’s health will be communicated via her official social media platforms or by herself.”

Zahara, known for her chart-topping albums from the double-platinum debut "Loliwe" (2011) to "Nqaba Yam" (2021), which peaked at number 1 on iTunes, garnered widespread acclaim in her career. She amassed an impressive collection of 17 South African Music Awards, three Metro FM Awards, and one Nigeria Entertainment Award.

Beyond her musical accomplishments, Zahara's influence reached global recognition, earning her a spot on the BBC's 2020 list of 100 Women. She also served as a guest judge on the seventeenth season of Idols South Africa in 2021.

The sudden demise of Zahara has reverberated throughout the music community, prompting an outpouring of tributes from fans and fellow artists. Zahara's contributions to the South African music industry are hailed as enduring, and her legacy is sure to leave an indelible mark.

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