Winnie Khumalo has been very busy in the studio during lockdown. She has been working on a new album, “#Umuntu wam”. On Saturday 29 August, she released “Phezulu”, a single from the album. “Phezulu” translates in English as “up”, “upwards”, “above”, “top”, “high”, amongst others. In an interview on SABC’s “Morning Live”, Winnie, a single mother herself, explained that the song is a tribute to single mothers. She also “wants to encourage them that if I could make it through all these struggles, they can also do it. It takes prayer and hard work.”

Winnie is her own person in the music industry with her own studio at home and her own label. She has signed a few new artists, but promoting them has been delayed by the lockdown. She says that she “loves to entertain people” and to get them dancing. Winnie has been a pioneer in the South African music industry. She is one of a new generation of queens who are making positive waves in society.

But just who is she?

“She paved the way for other Bubblegum musicians, and she set all dance floors on fire.”

Winnie was introduced to the music industry at the tender age of 15. She paved the way for other Bubblegum musicians and she set all dance floors on fire. She was raised by her grandmother who made sure that she was raised with strong spiritual values. And those are the same values she is teaching her two children. As a result, she has two strong, humble kids. Her first album was sold out, and her fans wanted more from her. 

Winnie and Rethabile Khumalo

Her age and talent made other young women feel that it was possible to be in the music industry in the 80s. 

It was time when mostly males were making waves and were in charge in the entertainment industry. She worked with big names in the industry, such as Oscar Mdlongwa, Chico Twala, and the likes of Pastor Langa Dube on a gospel album in the 1990s, and DJ Cleo. Her long list of experience proves that she has stood the test of time in music, as she has in the industry for over three decades. Her love for collaborating with other people and her unselfishness in sharing her talents continues to make her the darling of the music industry. The list includes Brenda Fassie (as Brenda’s backing vocalist and lead vocalist), Pure Magic, Sipho Mbele, Brothers of Peace (B.O.P), Bongo Maffin, Zonke Dikana and DJ Cleo. 

She was raised by her grandmother, who guided her and made sure she is grounded and humble.

Winnie talents and faith have given her staying power in an industry that can be filled with many challenges, she has find that her relationship with God, and prayer, have guaranteed this longevity. She was raised by her grandmother, who guided her and made sure she is grounded and humble. The same teachings have been instilled in her daughter, Rethabile Khumalo, who is also a talented artist in her own right. 

“Her talents do not end with music and dance.”

This mother of two makes sure that her songs always have a positive message for those who love her music. Songs, such as “Let me live my life”, are still downloaded from music platforms. And the quality will still make you feel that you are listening to the song for the first time. That is what her songs do and that is why she is well-loved by her fans. Her talents do not end with music and dance. She has worked on a few productions, and acting is her second love, Winnie worked with director, Mr. Jerry Mofokeng, in a stage play titled “The Brenda Fassie Musical” in 2010. She played the lead role (Brenda Fassie). She did an amazing job as she had worked with Brenda Fassie, as her backup singer and dancer.

Lady in red

Winnie Khumalo’s contribution to the music industry is not limited to her own career

She’s also raising an amazing young woman whose talent and big voice remind us of her mother as a 15-year-old who took the industry by storm. Rethabile has inherited her mother’s talents, and she is also a strong Christian like her mother. “The most amazing thing about being a strong woman is watching your own strong daughter that you have raised doing amazing things and using her talents,” she says. 

”Her love for women empowerment runs deep.” 

She loves working with other women in the music industry; with other producers and female musicians. When asked what drives her as a woman in this type of industry, she replied: “Success and seeing other women doing it. That motivates me ‘cos I also wanna bring change in people’s lives.” She is willing to empower our musicians so that the industry grows. Her new forthcoming album called features Melusi Msimango, and that is an example of her love for growth in the music industry.

At the moment, most industries are starting to open in the country. I have no doubt she has a lot of work that she has done during lockdown. I cannot wait for her to show us how she spent her lockdown at home in her studio. 

Whatever it is, it is going to be a hit. And our update tells us it is “Phezulu”.

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