Thandiswa Mazwai is one of the most influential South African musicians of this generation.

Why you should listen

The Guardian has referred to Thandiswa Mazwai as "South Africa's finest female contemporary singer." Her influence in the post-millennial South African sound can be heard far and wide -- new groups idolize and emulate her work, while globally, she effortlessly channels the legends such as Mariam Makeba, Busi Mhlongo, Fela and Hugh Masekela.

Mazwai's debut album, Zabalaza (2004), reached double platinum status, and her critically acclaimed second album, Ibokwe (2009), reached gold status within weeks of release. Her third solo studio album is Belede (2016), a collection of reinterpretations of legendary South African jazz and protest anthems from the 1950s and 1960s golden era. Mazwai's selection is inspired by the music she listened to whilst growing up, and the title, Belede, is named after and dedicated to her late mother, a major influence in her music and political stance.

Thandiswa Mazwai’s TED talk