Top 5 innovative Cape Town female musicians3 minute read

Cape Town, South Africa, is the tourist capital city of the motherland. With over 4 million foreigners and scenic sites such as table mountain, Bo-Kaap and Robben Island, this beautiful city also has a vibrant western cape culture. These are my picks of four (and one group of) female musicians whose passion and unique sound has made and is currently making waves in Cape Town.

1. Melanie Scholtz

Melanie Scholtz is a contemporary multi-award winning classically trained jazz singer who has graced stages around the world. She “won all three prizes in the prestigious Jazz Revelations competition as part of the Jazz Juan Festival held in Nice, France” and was the Standard Bank Young Artist for jazz in 2010. Melanie has had the pleasure of lecturing at the famous University of Cape Town in jazz vocal studies and she also teaches at the Artscape Youth Jazz programme.

2. Three Tons of Fun

Three Tons of Fun is a dynamic black female group based in the heart of Cape Town. Saxy Sthe (Nontokozo Sithembile Mfuphi), Beautiful Bee (Bulelwa Sakayi) and Mysterious Michelle (Michelle Thomas) are on a mission to entertain audiences with their vocals and delivery but also “to show the world not only slender woman can be sexy!” They have been performing for almost 10 years and since their inception, they have been in high demand. Their sound is fun, soulful and brings the sense of the African sun arising into a new dawn.

3. Madeegah Anders

Madeegah Anders is a Muslim African of Javanese descent, who is famously known for her angelic voice in the apartheid era. Her musical career began in 1979 when she was asked to play a lead female role in a musical at a very prestigious hotel in Swaziland.  At that time in South Africa there were very little opportunities or places to perform which fueled her ambition to become an actress and a singer. She paved the way for all the female singers during apartheid, opening doors for women of colour to perform in white only spaces.

4. Mabel Sithole

Mabel Sithole is a young musician who was born in Zimbabwe but moved to South Africa to pursue her studies in Cape Town. She cites her influences as African traditional music including the mbira, marimba, drums and singing that resonates with most societies in Africa. Mabel has gathered quite a contemporary audience locally and has expanded internationally.

5. Karin Kotje

Photo by Peter Abrahams.

Karin Kotje is a South African musician born and raised on the outskirts of Cape Town, in a small city called Grabouw. In 2005 she won the hearts of the nation as the winner of  ‘Idols South Africa’ with her powerful voice. After experiencing  the trauma of losing two of her seven siblings and  witnessing a murder, Karin found her strength and hope in music. Her therapeutic music is considered one of the most heartening sounds in cape town. She is inspired by local musicians such as Judith Saquema, who had a great influence on her love for jazz and she incorporates the genre in her music. When I asked her about her message in her music she said, “My message to the people of this world out there is to never give up on your dreams. If it’s destined it WILL happen. The enemy will try and destroy you and kill your passion for your gift but be mindful and focus on God. Because in my most trying times when men deserted me God was my anchor and has kept me going and I still am.”

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Rudo Zvobgo is a Zimbabwean who lived in Cape Town for several years before moving to Paris. She is passionate and driven to document events that shape and mold the world we live in. If there's a story to be told you can find her writing, reporting, or hosting.

One Comment

  1. Beautiful people but interesting that there is not one white South African... i know of several including the lovely Kathryn Swain, 23 yr old local girl, Cape Town born, first album out, working on a new single; or Jennifer Eaves who recently opened for Johnny Clegg overseas... these are young musicians working like everyone else to make their way.... why no representation?