South African singer Sjava is among the wave of artists fusing hip-hop and R&B with elements of African music.
• Born in the small South African village of Bergville, Sjava began exploring his love for music around age 10, when he formed the a cappella group Abafana base Mpumalanga.
• In 2005, Sjava went on an acting audition with hopes of making the producers listen to his music. He wound up landing a role on the TV drama Zone 14. He was later cast on uGugu no Andile, and in 2010, he was nominated for Best Supporting Actor at the South African Film and Television Awards.
• After signing with the independent South African label Ambitiouz Entertainment, Sjava released his debut album, Isina Muva, in 2016. The LP earned a South African Music Award for Best Produced Album.
• Sjava gained international recognition by appearing on 2018’s Kendrick Lamar–curated and Grammy-nominated Black Panther: The Album.
• That same year, Sjava won a BET Award for Best New International Act and released his sophomore album, Umqhele.
HOMETOWNBergville, KwaZulu Natal, South A
BORN02 December 1984