One of the South African top female musicians who has been making waves since her comeback single the first quarter of the year as well as a full body of work almost a couple of months now makes a feature on our #AOTW today. Award winning R&B singer-songwriter and record producer; an independent woman, writing, arranging and producing her own smash hits. Call her the 20-minute girl as she once referred to herself singing in English and Xhosa language.
She’s got the ability to write a hook and record it that quickly. She’s written hits for the likes of Mafikizolo. She’s gifted, she’s beautiful, and she’s poised for stardom. Can Africa ever have enough of iconic female artists such as Angelique Kidjo, Mbilia Bel, Brenda Fassie, Yvonne Chakachaka without giving opportunities for new generation who have set to take over the mantle. Naah!
Definitely no! Without almost new generation singer like Zonke. Zonke Dikana popularly known by her stage name Zonke was born on 11th October 1979 (38) in KwaZakhele, Eastern Cape, South Africa to a musically inclined family – Her father a drummer while her late step mother Anneline Malebo was a singer for a musical band called Joy. Yes her step mother! Her mother died before her music career started (actually both parents).
Zonke – a1997 graduate of Human Resource Management from the University of Bloemfontein in SA actually recounted how her step mother took her under her wing when she moved up to Joburg in the late ‘90s. According to her “Every day we’d go out to sessions and record backing vocals for artists. We’d hang around the studio, and then when they needed us, we’d have to step into the booth and do the vocal in a few minutes”
Zonke officially launched her music career in Germany in 2004 after being discovered by German producer York who invited her to be part of German group Culture Clan. They did two albums together. Zonke’s then went solo for self-actualization and came back with the album Soulitary. The album did well in Japan but Zonke was not satisfied saying she could not imagine making it globally but not at known at home. So she came back to South Africa.
Say Now the 20th track off Give and Take Live – the album won Best African Adult Album, Best Live DVD as well as Female Artist of the Year for herself
Back at home, a South African music producer (Oscar “Oskido” Mdlongwa) told her that her sound was “too international” and that it probably wouldn’t work in a local market that had a strong house music presence. This made Dikana nervous about putting out a soul and R&B product. She stuck to her preferred sound infusing with her mother tongue, isiXhosa and finally rose to stardom in 2011 following the release of her 3ird album Ina Ethe. Ina Ethe was certified double platinum and was nominated at the 18th South African Music Awards.
In 2013, she recorded and released Give and Take Live which went on to be certified gold just two months after its release. This further earned her a spot in Channel O’s list of “Africa’s Top 10 Female Singing Sensations”.
Work of Heart fourth studio album released 2015 – follow up of her gold-certified live album Give and Take Live.
In September 2015, Zonke released her 5th album Work of Heart; by 2016, Zonke’s Work Of Heart went platinum 10 months after release. The album earned her nominations in several categories at the 15th Metro FM Music. The same year (2016) Zonke held auditions for her new back-up singers.
“Ekhaya” off Life, Love ‘n Music the album released in 2007
Ekaya Record of the Year Won SA in 2008
Tonight a 2018 song off L.O.V.E the album in 2018
“Meet Me in My Dreams”, dedicated to her older sister Lulu Dikana. the song is dedicated to my late sisters and it says: “You are not around and I can’t physically see you but I can feel you. It’s hard for me to cope without you but at least meet me in my dreams.”
Apart from parents, she also lost two sisters: Lulu in 2014 and Busi in 2013). Lulu’s death in 2014 was a big shock, she disappeared from the spotlight to deal with the grief saying after Lulu’s death I didn’t want to exist anymore. “It took a lot for me to be able to get up and work again. I had to finish the album because I had a contract to fulfil with my record label
Music has got me off trouble so many times. Now it is like a soothing balm. I used my music as an outlet to deal with the pain.”
(6th Albums in total with 7 Awards and 25 Nominations)
Studio albums: Soulitary 2004, Life, Love ‘n Music 2007, Ina Ethe 2011 (RISA: 2x platinum), Work of Heart 2015 and L.O.V.E in 2018 Live album: Give and Take Live 2013
Zonke’s contribution to the South African music industry has garnered her multiple awards and nominations in several music award events including the South African Music Awards, Metro FM Music Awards, the Channel O Music Video Awards and MTV Africa Music Awards.
: David Foster who she claims has written most of the songs that she loves while locally, she pickedDon Laka and her late sister Lulu – who was teacher.
Zonke is one of SA’s most celebrated female artists whom is taking charge of her own music, writing, producing, arranging and recording her own songs. Zonke has written hits for Mafikizolo, Don Laka, Black Coffee, Guffy Pilane and Winnie Khumalo. “I’d love to have an album produced by Kanye West. He’s a daring, brilliant visionary. “I’d love, love, love to be interviewed by Oprah.
She dreams to have a global presence through her my music and hopes would reach a wider audience as she I’d like to take time out and travel the world.
No 1 Feelings : Won Channel O Africa Music Video Awards: won Most Gifted Female Video of the Year in 2013
Feelings is off her third studio album Ina Ethe the album that won Best African Adult Album as well as nominated for Album of the Year SA in 2012. The album that was certified double platinum and was nominated at the 18th South African Music Awards. Ina Ethe won the S.A Best African Adult Album as well as being nominated for Album of the Year in 2012