‘The One Who Sings’: Zolani Mahola on going solo and Project Playground

South African singer, songwriter and actress Zolani Mahola is ready for Project Playground’s Safe Space fundraising gala on Thursday 17 September.

Swedish television presenter Renée Nyberg will host the Safe Space gala which will be streamed live in several countries.

Mahola will perform alongside popular electronic duo Goldfish and winner of the second season of The Voice South Africa, Craig Lucas.

Zolani Mahola and Freshlyground

Port Elizabeth-born Mahola, 39, is an inspiration to many South Africans who have loved her since her television role on Tsha-Tsha.

And South Africa is not yet used to seeing the lead singer of one of South Africa’s most loved bands, Freshlyground, without her crew.

The highly acclaimed Afro-fusion band toured the country and the world for 17 years before Mahola decided to go solo in August 2019.

Since then, the singer has contributed to numerous projects with other South African artists. She also released her first solo single titled All Because of You.

Currently she is recording her debut album using music and storytelling. 

Listen to ‘All Because of You’

The One Who Sings’

The multi-faceted artist says she is rebranding to be “The One Who Sings” as she prepares for this exciting chapter in her life.

She told The South African that through the years she has been called different things in her life, from Freshlyground to the title of the band’s second album, Nomvula.

One day someone referred to her as “lowo uculayo” in isiXhosa, which in English translates to “The One Who Sings”. Now she has decided to use this as she builds her solo career.

Her virtual solo show – The One Who Sings – starts today (16 September) and tickets are available from Webtickets.

Mahola is fascinated by storytelling and is passionate about poetry and prose.

“The ways humans can experience themselves through the written medium is endless.”

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Image: Supplied

Mahola finds her authentic voice

She says she went solo to get in touch with, and fully discover, her own authentic voice.

She spoke very deeply about her single All Because of You, which she says is an ongoing process.

Mahola and multi award-winning Cape Town musician Aron Halevi from Freshlyground co-wrote the song which has a strong piano presence and inspiring lyrics.

“The song stands for all South Africans,” says Mahola, explaining how “I am because you are”.

“It’s really important to get to know yourself, to get to know you and harness your personal power.”

Project Playground ‘Safe Space’ fundraiser

Project Playground is a Cape-based non-profit organisation which was founded in 2010 by H.R.H. Princess Sofia of Sweden and Frida Vesterberg to create safe spaces for children and youth both in and outside of the home, where they, together with adults they trust, can develop into confident and secure individuals with a positive look on their future.

It is holding a free virtual gala, Safe Space, on 17 September to raise awareness of the need for safe spaces for all children.

Mahola says she realises the importance of childhood and she stands in support of the children who benefit from the Safe Spaces campaign.

On the virtual live stream viewers will meet children from the Project Playground centres in South Africa and hear about international names talking about their own safe spaces.

To be a part of the fundraiser event, you can register here.

  • Safe Space also will be streamed live on The South African’s website.

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