In a world where music has the power to transcend boundaries and touch the depths of our souls, a remarkable artist exists, captivating audiences with her ethereal voice and profound musicality. Zolani Mahola, formerly known as the lead singer of Freshly Ground, has undergone a transformative renewal, embracing her true essence as "The One Who Sings". Through this rebirth, she has found liberation from the shadows of her past and forged a deeper connection with her community and the healing power of music.
With her new identity, Mahola has metaphorically reclaimed her anonymity, stepping away from the spotlight that often accompanies fame. The name "Lo uculayo," meaning "the one who sings," bestowed upon her by the people in the streets, symbolizes her reconnection to her roots, evoking a sense of communal belonging and shared purpose. Like a gentle breeze whispering through ancient trees, her voice echoes the resilience and beauty of her upbringing, transcending mere entertainment to become a beacon of solace and inspiration.
Mahola's performances have undergone a profound transformation, transcending the conventional notion of a mere stage spectacle. Instead, they have become sacred spaces, where boundaries dissolve, and audience and performers meld into a harmonious circle. In this mystical realm, her voice serves as a conduit for collective healing, akin to the age-old traditions of ceremonial gatherings where voices intertwine, weaving a tapestry of solace and rejuvenation. The energy generated in these sacred moments becomes a balm that soothes the wounds of the soul, reminding us of our shared humanity and the power of music to transcend worldly limitations.
Mahola's profound spirituality permeates every aspect of her being, manifesting in her music as a testament to her devotion. She embraces introspection, dedicating time to prayer and meditation, allowing her spiritual connection to infuse her creative process. Her music, thus, becomes a form of worship, a profound expression of gratitude for the divine gift of music bestowed upon her. With humility, she eschews the pursuit of fame and fortune, finding fulfilment in the sheer joy of creating music that resonates with the souls of her listeners.
In the quest to tap into the untapped potential of collective feminine energy, Mahola has embarked on a remarkable journey. Since 2019, she has been at the helm of a transformative movement, nurturing a femme group of womxn called The Feminine Force. This powerful collective serves as a conduit for women to gather, share their stories, and unite their voices and energy, ultimately reclaiming and celebrating the extraordinary power that lies within each of them. The Feminine Force, curated by Mahola, has become a haven where women find solace, strength, and safety. By fostering an inclusive and supportive environment, the group empowers women to explore their power and recognize the immense strength that arises when their energies converge. In a world that has historically attacked and brutalized the feminine essence, this movement seeks to challenge and dismantle gender binaries, fostering a sense of solidarity and empowerment. The Feminine Force represents a movement that looks back to honour the trailblazers who fought for women's rights, while also forging ahead to create a new paradigm of empowerment. It challenges outdated notions of power and reconstructs structures that uplift and amplify the voices of women. This collective shines a light on the unique strengths and perspectives of each member, fostering an environment where every woman can thrive and contribute to a greater whole.
As part of The Feminine Force, Zolani Mahola has collaborated with a diverse and talented group of musicians. One of them is Sibahle Sky Dladla, an African instrumentalist, percussionist, marimba maker, songwriter, and singer. Dladla, who grew up in Gugulethu, Cape Town, brings a wealth of musical expertise to the collective, having mastered various traditional African instruments such as marimba, uhadi bow, nyunga nyunga, mbira, djembe, chitende, and kayombe. Another member of The Feminine Force is Genevieve Lee, who studied opera at the UCT music college. Lee's musical journey has been enriched by her exploration of the traditional medicine music of the Amazonian tribe Huni Kuin. Her unique background adds a distinctive and ethereal element to the collective's sound. Cal Thompson, a highly accomplished bass player and pianist, is also part of The Feminine Force. As a music education pioneer and the founder of the Mobile Music Academy, Thompson brings her vast experience and expertise to the collective, contributing to their musical prowess and innovative approach.
Together, Mahola, Dladla, Lee, and Thompson create a dynamic and diverse musical ensemble within The Feminine Force. Their collaboration represents a fusion of different musical styles, traditions, and influences, resulting in a powerful and transformative musical experience. Through their collective talent, passion, and dedication, they aim to inspire, empower, and uplift audiences, leaving a lasting impact on the world of music and beyond.
Zolani Mahola stands as an inspiration to others, embodying the transformative power of music and its ability to bring healing, unity, and empowerment. Her rebranding signifies a powerful evolution, as she shines a light on the importance of community, spirituality, and the limitless potential of the human voice. Through her artistry, she leaves an indelible mark on the world of music and leaves us eagerly anticipating the next chapter of her musical journey.