ARTE VIVA MUSIC  |  The One Who Sings


Image: Supplied


South Africa  |  Afro-Folk / Medicine Music

(Zolani Mahola)


The One Who Sings is the latest solo creative incarnation of Zolani Mahola, after 17 successful years with pan-African super group Freshlyground.


The Cape Town based singer, storyteller and change-maker is exploring new sonic terrain, and flexing her creative muscles in new and exciting ways.  Her highly anticipated solo album “Thetha Mama” was released at the end of 2021 to great acclaim, and mapped out her new musical direction - embracing  traditional Xhosa vocals, Afro-Folk tales, electronic excursions and Sacred Songs - in a bold and eclectic statement.


Mahola is passionate about emphasizing the indelible connection between humans and the natural world, and this theme together with highlighting the sanctity of childhood forms the thematic basis of her solo work going forward.

Her new-found artistic freedom has seen her collaborate with a diverse group of artists, ranging from multiple Grammy-award winning classical musician Yo Yo Ma, world-renowned guitarist Derek Gripper to South African house music’s golden boy Sun-El Musician and acclaimed beatmaker Mr Sakitumi.


On stage, The One Who Sings brings together theatricality and musicality, with a warmth that resonates deeply with audiences across the world.  Simultaneously familiar and fresh, her performances will delight old fans and invite new listeners into the exciting new world of The One Who Sings.



"The One Who Sings is a musical memoir…it’s also an ode to the singer’s humanness, a catharsis of sorts that liberates both the performer and the audience."
Emilie Gambada, Daily Maverick


As The One Who Sings:

  • 2021 debut solo album release
    “Thetha Mama"

  • 2020 Collaboration with Yo Yo Ma as part of his Bach Projects performance in Cape Town

  • 2020 Fleur Du Cap award Best Actress for self-written play “The One Who Sings” staged in Cape Town

  • 2013 Collaboration with Hugh Masekela, Vusi Mahlasela & Thandiswa Mazwai in Tribute to Miriam Makeba - Cape Town International Jazz Festival 


With Freshlyground:

  • 2013 - Freshlyground play the Apollo Theatre on US tour 

  • 2011 - Performance at Radio City Music Hall alongside Stevie Wonder, Aretha Franklin for Mandela Day 46664 celebrations 

  • 2011 - Freshlyground plays Central Park along with Hugh Masekela 

  • 2010 - Freshlyground feature on "Waka Waka (This Time for Africa)" by Shakira, and play the opening and closing ceremonies of the FIFA World Cup with Shakira in South Africa 

  • 2006 -  Freshlyground win the MTV Europe Music Award for Best African Act

  • 2006 - Freshlyground support BB King at the Zenith in Paris 


Solo, as The One Who Sings:

  • Thetha Mama (2021)

With Freshlyground:

  • Hits (2019)

  • Can't Stop (2018)

  • Freshlyground (2013)

  • Take Me to the Dance (2012)

  • Radio Africa (2010)

  • Ma'Cheri (2007)

  • Nomvula (2004) - Double Platinum

  • Jika Jika (2003, re-released 2008)


Belgium, Botswana, Canada, Egypt, Estonia, Eswatini, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Ireland, Japan, Kenya, Lesotho, Mozambique, Nigeria, Sweden, Switzerland, Tanzania, The Netherlands, UAE, UK, USA, Zimbabwe


  • Solo - guitar and voice

  • Duo - two guitars and voice

  • Trio - two guitars, keyboard, marimba, African percussion
    and voices

  • Quartet - two guitars, double & electric bass, keyboard, marimba, African percussion and voices