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Three Women Who Have Influenced South Africa through Their Music

In August, South Africa celebrates women's rights. Throughout the country's history, women have played a significant role in driving change. The powerful spirit of these women has inspired people around the world. On Women's Day, we honor three icons who have had a profound impact on South Africa through their music.

Credit: Daniel Simon

Miriam Makeba

Affectionately known throughout the world as 'Mama Africa,' the late Zenzile Miriam Makeba used her musical art to reflect the oppression of black South Africans during apartheid in South Africa. She was a pioneer in introducing African music to the global stage in the 1960s and a civil rights activist in the struggle. The legendary Makeba lived in exile for more than 30 years, performing worldwide with prominent artists. During her career, she released classic hits like "Pata Pata", "The Click Song" and "Mayibuye".

Credit: Janette Beckman

Brenda Fassie

The 'Queen of African Pop' utilized her musical platform to convey the stories of black people in the townships during the apartheid system. The late Fassie was a relatable and unapologetic artist who also sang about her personal experiences without censorship. Despite her controversial reputation throughout her career, Brenda Fassie was still an icon for authentically representing her people and addressing issues affecting them. With hits like "Black President" and "Weekend Special", Fassie achieved international success and played a pivotal role in shaping the musical culture for South African artists today.

Credit: Mpho Mokgadi

Thandiswa Mazwai

Mazwai is known for creating music that reflects the impact of South Africa's past on contemporary society and focuses on the challenges faced by the youth as a result. She has encouraged black consciousness among young South Africans, inspiring discussions on self-empowerment and identity. Mazwai has performed worldwide and has received numerous awards recognizing her role as an activist. She is renowned for her classic and thought-provoking songs such as "Nizalwa Ngobani" and "Zabalaza".


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