What was Singer Zahara’s cause of death? Was Bulelwa Mkutukana poisoned by her family? Explained

What was Singer Zahara's cause of death? (Source: Facebook)
Singer Zahara cause of death. (Source: Facebook)


The music industry mourns the untimely loss of a true South African gem, Bulelwa Mkutukana, affectionately known by her stage name Zahara. Renowned for her soulful voice, poignant lyrics, and undeniable talent as a singer-songwriter, Zahara captured the hearts of fans not only in South Africa but around the world.

As word of her demise circulates, there is a growing rumor suggesting the possibility that Zahara may have been intentionally poisoned, allegedly by members of her own family. Continue reading to delve into the details of this developing narrative.

Singer Zahara passed away

The somber announcement of Zahara’s untimely passing was initially verified by Zizi Kodwa, the Minister of Sports, Arts, and Culture. In a formal statement, Minister Kodwa extended heartfelt condolences to the grieving Mkutukana family and the broader South African music industry. The acknowledgment of Zahara’s death by a government official not only amplifies the gravity of the loss but also underscores her significant impact on the nation’s cultural landscape.

Singer Zahara Cause of Death: Was She poisoned by her family?

Although an official cause of Zahara’s death has not been formally disclosed, recent developments shed light on a series of critical health challenges the Loliwe hitmaker faced. Last week, reports emerged indicating that Zahara had been admitted to the hospital for urgent medical attention, marking her second encounter with severe liver failure.

Notably, her family vehemently denied these health struggles despite the emerging information. This tragic hospitalization follows a prior incident in December 2019 when Zahara found herself in intensive care due to liver disease exacerbated by a history of heavy drinking. The recurrence of liver-related issues over the years had already raised concerns about the toll on her health and the ongoing battle she faced against these medical complications.

Adding to the complexity of the situation are reports suggesting the possibility of foul play. Some sources claim that Zahara may have been poisoned by members of her own family. Allegations have surfaced, pointing to the unauthorized use of her credit card for purchases by her sisters while she fought for her life in the intensive care unit (ICU).

These claims have intensified the speculation surrounding the circumstances of her death, contributing to a narrative that has captivated public attention and prompted a deeper investigation into the events leading up to the beloved singer’s tragic end.

Singer Zahara Biography

Bulelwa Mkutukana, recognized by her stage name Zahara, was a renowned South African singer-songwriter. Upon securing a record deal with TS Records, Mkutukana achieved significant success with her debut album, Loliwe (2011), which attained double platinum status.

Her second album, Phendula (2013), boasted three chart-topping singles: “Phendula,” “Impilo,” and “Stay.” The subsequent release, Country Girl (2015), earned triple platinum certification. After parting ways with TS Records, Zahara joined forces with Warner Music, and her fourth album, Mgodi (2017), emerged as her highest-selling record, securing platinum certification. Her fifth album, Nqaba Yam (2021), reached the pinnacle of the iTunes charts.

Early Life

Zahara, originally named Bulelwa Mkutukana, was born in the Phumlani Informal Settlement located outside of East London in the Eastern Cape, South Africa. She grew up in the company of her parents, Nokhaya and Mlamli Mkutukana, being the sixth child among seven siblings.

Zahara’s musical journey commenced at the age of six when she began singing in her school’s choir. By the age of nine, her powerful voice led her to be invited to join the senior choir. Her chosen stage name, which translates to “blooming flower,” reflects her vibrant persona. During her childhood, Zahara was affectionately known by the nickname “Spinach.”

South Africa’s Afro-Soul Sensation

Zahara’s musical style, often described as “Afro-soul,” encompasses singing in both her native language, Xhosa, and English. Drawing influences from the likes of Tracy Chapman and India Arie, Zahara embarked on her musical journey by busking on the streets of East London.

Recognizing her talent, TK Nciza of TS Records signed her, leading to the release of her debut album, Loliwe, in 2011. The album’s initial release sold out within 72 hours, and within 19 days, it achieved double platinum status in South Africa by selling over 100,000 copies—a record-breaking feat, second only to fellow Xhosa artist Brenda Fassie.

Zahara continued her success with her first live DVD, The Beginning Live, released in 2012 and featuring X-Factor USA contestant LeRoy Bell. The DVD achieved platinum status in a single day, meeting the Recording Industry of South Africa’s standards. At the 2012 South African Music Awards, Zahara secured an impressive eight awards, including “Best Female Artist” and “Album of the Year.”

In 2013, Zahara unveiled her second studio album, Phendula, which garnered three South African Music Awards for Best Selling Album, Best R&B, Soul and Reggae Album, and Best Female Artist of the Year. Beyond her musical achievements, Zahara’s connection with cultural icons was evident when Nelson Mandela invited her to perform a private bedside concert, leading her to compose “Nelson Mandela” in his honor and release it as an EP.

Zahara’s Musical Journey Through Tragedy and Triumph

In July 2014, tragedy struck Zahara’s life when her younger brother was murdered in East London. Coping with the profound grief, Zahara openly shared that she underwent a period of depression following his death. Despite this challenging time, she managed to recover sufficiently for the release of “Country Girl” in 2015.

At the Eastern Cape Music Awards that same year, Zahara earned recognition by clinching two awards, namely “Best Female” and “Best Artist 3.” In early 2017, Zahara took a significant step in her career by signing with Warner Music South Africa. On October 13, 2017, she unveiled her fourth studio album, “Mgodi,” which remarkably achieved gold status within a mere six hours of its release.

To promote the album further, Zahara embarked on the Africa All Star Music Festival, a tour that spanned three venues in the United States. The tour commenced in Toronto, Canada, on August 17, 2019, and concluded on August 24, 2019, in Washington DC. Zahara’s exceptional work on “Mgodi” earned her the title of Best Female Act at the 2018 Next Generation Entertainment Awards.

Zahara’s Resurgence

After a hiatus spanning four years, Zahara unveiled details about her fifth studio album on CapeTalk and subsequently dropped the album’s lead single, “Nyamezela,” on May 7, 2021. Following this, she released a second single, “Nqaba Yam,” on July 30, 2021.

Originally scheduled for release on July 9, 2021, the album faced delays attributed to COVID-19 lockdowns and was ultimately launched on August 13, 2021. In December 2021, Zahara offered a sneak peek of her inaugural Amapiano single through a post on Twitter. During 2021, she marked her television debut by serving as a guest judge on Idols South Africa Season 17, sharing the judging panel with Dineo Ranaka.

Zahara’s remarkable achievements encompass 17 South African Music Awards, three Metro FM Awards, and one Nigeria Entertainment Award. Recognized internationally, she featured on the BBC’s 2020 list of 100 Women. Additionally, Zahara assumed a guest judge role during the seventeenth season of Idols South Africa in 2021.

As news of her passing spreads, the music community reflects on the profound impact she had on the industry and the lasting legacy she leaves behind.

In the coming days, as more details emerge, the narrative surrounding Zahara’s legacy may take unexpected turns, challenging the public to reconcile the profound impact of her music with the distressing speculations that surround her final moments.


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