8 uber-talented South Africans who are shining on the global stage

Our gifted musicians, artists and landscape architects are rocking the world with their sass, sexiness, savvy and expertise. Here are a few making us proud right now

06 October 2019 - 00:00
SA soprano Pretty Yende at the final dress rehearsal of the Met's 'La Fille du Regiment' in New York in February.
SA soprano Pretty Yende at the final dress rehearsal of the Met's 'La Fille du Regiment' in New York in February.
Image: Jack Vartoogian/Getty Images

1. PRETTY YENDE

Age: 34.

Born: Piet Retief in Mpumalanga

World-renowned South African opera singer Pretty Yende is hitting new heights in a Paris production of La Traviata where the heroine is a social media influencer destroyed by the society that propelled her to fame. Rave reviews have followed her sold-out performances.

2. ALICE PHOEBE LOU

Age: 25.

Born: Kommetjie, Cape Town

Currently on a world tour to perform her new album, Paper Castles, which takes her from Dublin to the US to Austria, Italy, Germany, Switzerland and France, Alice Phoebe Lou is a street performer who has risen to fame on her own terms.

The SA-based artist's second full-length recording is a "breathtaking song cycle of romance and struggle, solitude and adventure, told through a free-spirited blend of electronic soul and psychedelic folk that highlight her honeyed vocals and reveal a limitless approach to musicality and craft".

DJ Lag's Uhuru EP is the first gqom record up for a Grammy nomination.
DJ Lag's Uhuru EP is the first gqom record up for a Grammy nomination.
Image: Supplied

3. DJ LAG

Age: 23.

Born: Clermont, Durban

Recently featured in these pages, DJ Lag's Uhuru EP is being considered for the 2020 Grammy Awards nominations, it was announced this week.

While there is still some mileage to cover to be selected for a nomination, being able to submit the first Gqom record to the academy is an honour in itself.

"A nomination for a Grammy would mean that I can continue to show the world where I come from, what my music means to me and my people," says the 23-year-old. The dream is big, but so is the support of my community. It already feels like a win."

4. NDLOVU YOUTH CHOIR

Ages: various.

From Moutse, Limpopo

Anyone who doesn't know about the inspiring rise to the finals of America's Got Talent of this young choir group from the dusty streets of Limpopo must be hiding under a rock in a small village somewhere with no access to WiFi.

The choir was celebrated by people around the world, along with the America's Got Talent judges, including the notoriously hard to please Simon Cowell, even though they eventually didn't win the competition. This week Cowell offered them a record deal.

5. SHO MADJOZI

Age: 27.

Born: Shelley Village, Elim, Limpopo

Madjozi's song John Cena has been making waves in the music world since its debut on the international music platform Colors in August.

Since then a viral hashtag #JohnCenaChallenge has taken social media by storm, with dancers from around the world showing off their moves to the hit.

6. DR CHRIS MULDER

Age: 60-something.

Born: SA

Last week Dr Chris Mulder was nominated for the Sir Geoffrey Jellicoe Award - the highest honour the International Federation of Landscape Architects can bestow on one of its members. That basically means that he is considered one of the top three in his profession internationally. It really is like being nominated for an Oscar in his field.

Landscape architecture is often confused with gardening but is an incredibly specialised field that deals with ecological urbanism, open systems design and, most importantly, climate change.

Lady Skollie is making waves in the local art scene and is currently exhibiting in the UK.
Lady Skollie is making waves in the local art scene and is currently exhibiting in the UK.
Image: John Liebenberg

7. LADY SKOLLIE

Age: 32.

Born: Cape Town

Lady Skollie has become prominent on the SA art scene for her evocative, thought-provoking and individualistic paintings.

She uses ink, watercolour and crayon to defy taboos and talks openly about sex, pleasure, consent, human connection, violence and abuse.

She is currently exhibiting in Birmingham in the UK at Eastside Projects until December 14.

8. NASTY C

Age: 22.

Born: Diepkloof, Soweto

Nasty C is slaying 2019. Just weeks after being nominated for a BET hip-hop award, the man has also scooped an MTV European Music Awards nomination, says Tshisalive journalist Kyle Zeeman.

Nasty C will compete with fellow South African Prince Kaybee for the Best African Act title. He is also up against Teni, Toofan, Harmonize and Burna Boy.


Would you like to comment on this article or view other readers' comments? Register (it’s quick and free) or sign in now.

Speech Bubbles

Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.

X