Simphiwe Dana


The release of her debut album, ‘Zandisile’, with its hair-raising and thumping ethno-soulful sounds of ‘Ndiredi’(the hit single) gave pronouncement to the fact that Simphiwe Dana was indeed born to sing and perform, much to the delight of the biggest jazz festival promoters of the infamous Standard Bank Joy of Jazz Festival in Johannesburg and the Cape Town International Jazz Festival.

For Simphiwe Dana, ‘Zandisile’ opened-up the doors to a musical world that only a few world acclaimed South African musicians managed to keep open and within a short space of time, Simphiwe managed to do just that. Her outstanding and debut performance at a major international festival later earned her a European release with Skip Records in Germany and a European booking agency deal which would later see her touring extensively in Europe.

Her albums have deservedly scooped-up numerous awards and recognitions, here and abroad. With ‘Zandisile’, ‘One Love Movement on Bantu Biko Street’, and her latest offering ‘Kulture Noir’, Simphiwe Dana has collected 6 South African Music Awards (SAMA), 2 METRO FM Music Awards (Best Female Artist and Best Contemporary Jazz), 1 Avo Session Award in Europe (alongside Elton John who received The Lifetime Achievement Avo Session Award), a Metropolitan Eastern Cape Arts and Culture Award, and numerous nominations, such as the BBC Radio 3’s World Music 2008 Awards, 3 METRO FM Music Awards nominations, Channel O Best Music Video Awards, just to mention a few.

Her music is now part of the curriculum at prestigious universities such as Oxford University in England and other academic institutions.

By the time she released her second album ‘The One Love Movement On Bantu Biko Street’, Simphiwe had begun shaking the political establishment with her uncensored statements and songs and had taken a center stage as a socio-political commentator on the plight of the poor and the dispossessed. 

She continues to advocate for a new political discourse through her numerous writings, such as the language debate she opened recently when she called for the recognition of a single South African indigenous language as an official language.

Her strong and impassioned beliefs in the betterment of the African people have seen her play a huge role in the restoration and evolution of African culture and its mores.

Simphiwe is a strong believer in bringing to the fore and opening up debate about those issues which affect society, such as HIV/AIDS. Her debut role as Themba’s mother in the movie called ‘Themba: A Boy Called Hope’, comes to show just how passionate she is about empowering people with knowledge and wisdom.

For a young woman, Simphiwe is already defining a legacy of young and powerful African activists whose aim is to artistically shine the beacon of hope on a continent that was once shunned and exploited.

For Simphiwe Dana, Kulture Noir is a celebration of a new dawn in Africa. Africa is Kulture Noir.