Simphiwe Dana (born 1980) is a Xhosa Singer in South Africa. With her unique combination of jazz, rap and traditional music, she has been hailed as the “new Miriam Makeba”.
In 2005, Simphiwe Dana won the “Best Newcomer” award at the 11th South African Music Awards with her first album “Zandisile”. Two years later, she was named the “Best Female Artist”, with the song “The One Love Movement on Bantu Biko Street”, at the 13th South African Music Awards.
Simphiwe Dana is also active in the world music scene in Europe.
She schooled at the Vela Private School in Mthatha, from which she matriculated in 1997. Her tertiary education pursued her interests in graphic design, and she successfully studied for her National Diploma in IT at the Wits Technikon, Johannesburg. Dana’s music draws strongly on her upbringing in the Transkei, and she sites the powerful singing of her mother as an inspiration for her and her siblings, and ultimately as a key motivator in her resolve to pursue her musical career.
She has maintained a strong presence, with consistent radio play and live appearances at key national events and Festivals such as Arts Alive, the Cape Town International Jazz Festival and the Standard Bank Joy of Jazz. In September 2005, travelling to perform in Vereeniging, she was involved in a serious road accident. She was hospitalised for a week and needed reconstructive surgery, but fortunately gave birth to a healthy baby boy. In the ensuing period, she took time out to prioritise her maternal role and also for her own healing.
With two commercially-successful and critically acclaimed albums to her credit, she maintains a busy live performance roster, which increasingly includes international dates.
Her third album, Kulture Noir, was released in the summer of 2010. She later released her live album, An Evening with Sipmhiwe Dana Live in Concert, which features her singing some of her best hits accompanied by a 27 piece orchestra. Simphiwe has been vocal on topical issues in social media including political issues in South Africa.