Based: Cape Town
Zolani Mahola is a South African Storyteller, she is a singer, an actress, a speaker and an agent for social change.
Born in Port Elizabeth in 1981. She studied Theatre and Performance at the University of Cape Town where she met musicians with whom she would later form the band Freshlyground in 2002.
Freshlyground went on to become a household name and one of South Africa’s most acclaimed and successful bands, they captured the heart of South Africa and also claimed global recognition one highlight of which was a collaboration with pop superstar Shakira with whom they recorded the official song for the FIFA World Cup (2010) and performed it at the closing ceremony for a TV audience of over a billion people.
Zolani is loved and respected by South Africans for unifying a country through music and bridging social, racial and language gaps. As an artist, she explores themes of identity both for herself and to share the message ‘that we are all unique and have to be curious about our own identities, to find the reason we were put on this planet and to be the full expression of that.”
As part of her solo work, Zolani has staged a tribute show to Ella Fitzgerald. (2004) She is recognized in the street for her lead role as Boniswa in the inspirational SABC drama series Tsha Tsha (2003 – 2005) and her starring role in the feature film Cold Harbour (2014). She has been a judge on the acapella show The Sing-Off (2009) and guest judge on Idols (2010) and The Voice (2016), encouraging uniqueness and a good work ethic in the contestants. She sang the lead in a new South African musical “Calling Me Home” (2017) at the Joburg Theatre.
Zolani is passionate about sharing her experience for the good of her community and is expanding her portfolio to include inspirational talks, sharing her story and encouraging others to be curious about their own stories and to share them too. She hopes that this sharing and in turn listening will help towards healing pain caused by division in our society
Zolani lives in Cape Town with her husband and two sons and is currently working on new stories, music and performances as part of her solo repertoire to be recorded, performed and released this year.