About Sibongile Khumalo
The opera-trained South African jazz singer Sibongile Khumalo (1957-2021), epitomised being in control of one’s voice. She sang between the low and medium register, and had the unique talent to adapt to genres such as gospel, Sophiatown-era kwela music, and standards (her covers of Winston Mankunku’s “Yakhal’ Inkomo” and Strike Vilakazi’s “Meadowlands” are particularly striking). Her versatility and unencumbered sense of personal expression led to her being deemed “the voice of the new South Africa” in the mid-’90s, and she was even selected to perform during the 1994 inauguration of Nelson Mandela, South Africa’s first democratically elected president. Throughout her life and her career, Khumalo worked to preserve South Africa’s musical heritage while continuing to diversify her catalog through collaborations with rappers Tumi (2009’s “Stage Lights”) and Reason (2018’s “AZANIA”).