IT HAS been just a bit more than a year since she took the South African music industry by storm, and now Eastern Cape singing sensation Zahara's latest offering has already gone double platinum.
Zahara's live DVD, The Beginning, was released last Friday and within three days it had sold 40000 copies.
The Phumlani Village-born singer and songwriter, whose real name is Bulelwa Mkutukana, was in the Bay yesterday to promote The Beginning.
"Usually artists wait until they have a couple of albums before thinking about shooting a DVD,” she said. "I had to shoot the DVD because people were always asking me when I will have it. Straight after we finished shooting, people were already asking when and where it would be available.”
Zahara said she had South Africans to thank for her success. "I believe God still has great things in store for me. I just have to stay humble – I feel blessed.”
The 14-track DVD, with hits including Loliwe, My Guitar and Ndiza, was recorded in front of capacity crowds at Carnival City over two nights in June.
The Grammy Award-winning Soweto Gospel Choir, X-Factor US finalist Leroy Bell and fellow TS Records artist Riot are among the guest artists.
Zahara also pays tribute to two legendary artists, the late Miriam Makeba on African Sunset, and the late Brenda Fassie, whose hits Promises and Vulindlela she sings. The award-winning songstress won three Metro FM and eight South African Music Awards after being discovered by TS Records co-owner TK Ngciza in Talamancha, East London.
Zahara, who has hinted at collaborating with legendary gospel music stars such as Rebecca Malope, Benjamin Dube and Sechaba, has also been nominated for three South African Traditional Music Awards.
She has just returned from London where she headlined the Africa Unplugged concert at a packed Wembley Stadium. "I was the only female artist there. There were artists from different African countries. I ended up performing longer than I was supposed to because people wanted more. It was hectic. They have asked me to go back and perform alone in November,” she said.
"But we will be busy touring to promote the DVD next month. In two weeks' time we will start here in the Eastern Cape by meeting people and signing CDs.”
Despite all that she has achieved, she said her career highlight was singing for the former president, Nelson Mandela. "Not many people can say they sat at his feet and sang for him. It was just the two of us. It was such a blessing – I am still shocked.”
She said she had also started Blooming Flower – a project that aims to give hope. "I am collecting and distributing guitars in all the 53 African countries and giving them lessons.
"The only thing I had while I was still in Phumlani was hope and my guitar. I want the children to see the guitar as a symbol of hope,” Zahara said.