South Africa: Zolani Mahola - Chronicle of a Life (Until Recently) Untold


A trained actress, Zolani Mahola is mostly known as the lead singer of the band Freshlyground. Today, she's embarking on a new journey, intertwining storytelling and music while shaping an emotional narrative one story at a time.

It's past 10 in the morning and Zolani Mahola is sitting on a brown velvet sofa, dressed from head to toe in black, but for flickers of gold and silver around her neck and on her fingers. She's sipping her coffee, ready to talk about The One Who Sings, a deeply intimate journey into her childhood and walk of fame, a show that she performed for five nights at Cape Town's Baxter Theatre at the end of November.

Mahola is everything we've known her for, looking through the rainbow lens of Freshlyground's celebrated oomph and positive energy: she's beautiful, bubbly, kind and caring, and when the barista brings her a coffee with "Z Mahola" etched in the white foam, she claps at the sight and snaps a picture.

Under the surface, though, lies Zolani's - once Monica, her Catholic-given name - a tumultuous journey into the world up until today; from her tumble into music and ascendance to fame, to the complexities of...

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