A conversation with ‘The One Who Sings’ - Zolani Mahola

Zolani Mahola, TEDxCapeTown

The third installment of our Intersections Of Change digital series aimed to inspire and give new perspective on how creativity can be used to inspire hope.

If you’ve been to any of our TEDxCapeTown events, you would know that when you enter the venue you are welcomed with sounds and creative expressions by talented African artists, and it was an honour to host previous TEDxCapeTown speaker, Zolani Mahola, on our virtual stage.

Zolani Mahola, best known as the lead singer of the super group Freshlyground, is also a public speaker and an active change agent in society. She decided to embark on a solo career in January 2020 which saw her collaborate with the likes of YoYo-Ma and a plethora of African artists and organisations.

She’s taken on the name, The One Who Sings - “lowo uculayo”, which was given to her whenever she was in public and people couldn’t recall her name.  For her, this was more than just a name she heard often but a precedent to what would follow.

I feel like it’s an entity that has arisen in me over the past year and that has really been cemented during this time of the pandemic.

Zolani reminded us that we all have a special gift, and that this time we have now is about interacting with that gift and finding our purpose in this world.

Her newly released single, ‘Because We Are’, was co-written with the co-founder of Freshlyground Aron Halevi, and produced by RJ Benjamin, one of South Africa’s leading music producers. She explained it to be an examination of this moment (the pandemic) and the many lessons and insights we can gain from it. Learning from our history but also to acknowledge what we can learn from this “now moment”.

We want to get people dreaming about the next. Feeling what it is we have learnt from this time (the pandemic), that we want to take into the next and what we want to leave behind.

The theme of the conversation was about how creativity inspires hope. There is a wave of self-analysis that this pandemic has steered many of us towards, and we must use it to find what our gifts are, which in the end will be the tools that we can use to inspire change. With all the incredible artists sharing their journey on how introspection inspired their art, we can’t help but see exactly how creatives inspire hope in us.

Watch Zolani's conversation on our virtual stage via our YouTube channel below: