FOR years her voice has mesmerised fans, but lately it is Zolani Mahola's dramatic weight loss that has set tongues wagging.
While not willing to say just how many kilogrammes she has lost, the Eastern Cape-born lead singer of Afropop group Freshlyground said it took her a year to shed the kilos by exercising, dancing and cutting out fatty foods.
The result – a lighter, leaner and much more energetic Mahola.
But some would rather believe she lost the weight smoking dagga.
"Everybody has an opinion and not everyone has been positive about my weight loss. Those who are saying that I have been smoking dagga are just an example of bored people making up stories, while high on dagga probably," Mahola said.
"Either way it really does not matter because I am a musician, not a plaything that belongs to the general public."
Mahola, 31, said she had been bored with being fat and was also battling with health problems associated with being overweight.
"Physical and mental fatigue were examples of these and, of course, shortness of breath with simple things like walking up a few flights of stairs.
"That was not very good, especially being a stage performer in such high-energy shows as Freshlyground does. I made up my mind to change my appearance and my body followed," she said.
"I felt too heavy and you know that, after the age of 30, the body just gets slower and slower. I worked out and it worked for me. I did a lot of dancing which is part of why our new album is called Take Me To The Dance."
Mahola advised others to take care of their bodies.
"You can't expect to eat and drink whatever is on offer in the world and expect to be healthy. It does not work like that. Sooner or later, one's lifestyle catches up with them," she said.
The band's new album is already available at Pick n Pay stores countrywide.
"Really, people can say what they like about me but it would be great if they can listen to my music because this is my primary and only way I am available to them.
"I think the tone of our new album encapsulates that feeling.
"After 10 years in the music industry we are really coming into our own ... After all, Freshlyground is all about the music, not kilogrammes."