Top 10 Best South African Musicians

South Africa has a very vibrant music industry. In recent years, new and sensational South African musicians have cropped up. South African music is recognized and loved around the globe.

This list of the best and famous musicians in South Africa unveils individuals that are making moves in the music industry. These music artists are creating music that is simply great and worth listening to.

List of Top 10 Best South African Musicians

1. Nasty C

Nasty C is among the sensational South African musicians

Nasty C. Photo credit – Briefly

Nasty C is a common name in the South African rap music scene. He is not just a rapper but also a songwriter, and a record producer. Nsikayesizwe David Junior Ngcobo is the real name or this South African music star who was born in 1997. Fifteen years later, he dropped his very first mixtape, 2013’s One Kid a Thousand Coffins.  

After that, he has worked hard to become one o the famous South African musicians.  He won the Best Freshman Trophy in 2015, at the South African Hip Hop Awards. He was the youngest artist to receive an award then.

Nasty C signed a deal with Def Jam Records and released an American official single, There They Go. The single has won him global recognition. In June, Nasty C dropped a single, They Don’t. It is a song about social justice featuring the legendary Atlanta rapper T.I, his childhood hero.

Also Read: Which of These Successful Nigeria Music Artists Is Your Favorite?

2. Master KG

Master KG, one of popular South African musicians

Master KG. Photo credit – Apumone

Master KG is a household name in many countries. This South African music artist is also a record producer and a DJ. His real name is Kgaogelo Moagi, and he was born in 1996. Jerusalema is one of his singles that is known and loved internationally.

This song is actually from his second studio album, Jerusalem, and he released it in December 2019. The song features Burna Boy and Nomcebo Zikode. It went viral in mid-2020. With it, he won several awards namely, the MTV Europe Awards, the Feather Awards, NJR Music Awards, and Afrikan Muzic Magazine Awards.

This South African music star started playing with beats at thirteen using a computer.  Situation, which is his first single, was released in 2016. Then, he got signed to his current record label, Open Mic Productions. He released Skeleton Move, a chart-topping single featuring Zanda Zakuza.

Also Read: Top 10 Successful Kenya Music Artists. Who Is Your Favorite?

 3. Kabza De Small

Kabza De Small

Kabza De Small. Photo credit – @kabelomotha_

Kabza De Small is no doubt a good example of people that are living their dreams. Music has branded him into the famous South African musician he is today. According to Kabza De Small, whose real name is Kabelo Motha, music was his first love.

He is also a DJ, a career he began in 2009. Although he had few resources when he began, he knew where he wanted to go and what he wanted in his career. So, he used what he had to refine his skills and as time went by, he built himself into a well-known brand. Kabza De Small has worked with some big names in the industry including Afrosoul Sax Tribe Franko and MRF Souls.

He released Avenue Sound, his first album, in 2016 under House Afrika Records. He is one of the influential South African music artists. Many people call him the King of Amapiano because he is said to have authored this music genre in South Africa.

His songs have gained acceptance not just in South Africa but also in other African countries and beyond. The southern African musician has been nominated many times. He has won several awards and has been honored for his contribution to the music industry.

Also Read: Top 10 Popular Ghanaian Music Artists

4. Black Coffee

Black Coffee is one of the top 10 Best South African Musicians

Black Coffee. Photo credit – @realblackcoffee

He is a South African DJ, a record producer, and a songwriter. Black Coffee was born in 1976 and named Nkosinathi Innocent Sizwe Maphumulo. Black Coffee’s music career started around 1994. He became prominent in 2004 when he participated in the Red Bull Music Academy.

When his song Happiness was featured on the DJ’s at Work album, his first big break happened. He has released a live DVD and nine studio albums.  Black Coffee’s left arm was paralyzed after an accident, which happened in 1990.

The paralysis left him more determined to work hard on all his God-given talents. He has won many awards and performs in front of capacity crowds at enormous crowds. He has worked with R&B megastars like Alicia Keys and Drake.

5. Shekhinah

Shekhinah Tandi Donnell

Shekhinah Tandi Donnell. Photo credit – @shekhinahd

Shekhinah Tandi Donnell is one of the celebrated South African Musicians. She started her music career by participating in Seasons seven and eight of the South African Idols. Although she never made it to the runners-up, the Durban-born singer moved on with her career.

She released her first album titled Rose Gold in 2017. After a year, RISA certified this album. Subsequently, she bagged the Best Female Artist of the Year Award. One of her hits called “Suited” has over 12 million views on YouTube.

Shekhinah has won many other awards including the Best Female Artist in Southern Africa. She has gained popularity over the years because of her versatility in music.

Also Read: 10 Richest Musicians in Nigeria and their Wealth

6. DJ Maphorisa

DJ Maphorisa

DJ Maphorisa. Photo credit – @djmaphorisa

DJ Maphorisa is a vocalist and a record producer, besides being a DJ. His original name is Themba Sekowe. He was born in 1987. Themba also goes by the name Lawd Phori. This South African music artist became a star after producing hit singles for artists of different music genres.

In 2018 alone, he released a single, Midnight Starring, and received two nominations at the 2018 DStv Mzansi Viewers Choice Awards. He also won an award for the Most Voted for Song (Midnight Starring)

The expectation is that he will continue to win more awards in the coming years. Recently, in October, he produced Makosa and Nyota, from the album Motion.

Also Read: Upcoming Artists In Kenya To Watch In 2022

7. Yvonne Chaka Chaka

Yvonne Chaka Chaka, one of the leading South African Musicians

Yvonne Chaka Chaka. Photo credit – @yvonne_chakachaka

Yvonne Chaka Chaka is an international figure in the music industry. She is South African by birth, born on 18th March 1956 in Soweto. She is a songwriter, singer, actress, and entrepreneur.

This South African Music artist’s real name is Yvonne Machaka.  She specializes in the pop genre. Yvonne was discovered by Phil Hollis of Dephon records in Johannesburg, at the age of 19 years. Even though growing up was tough with her father dying when she was only 11, she came to be dubbed as The Princess of Africa. Her mother was a domestic worker.

Yvonne rose to stardom during the apartheid period in South Africa. Her debut album I’m in love with a DJ contributed greatly to her rising. Her hit songs I’m Burning Up, I Cry for Freedom, SangomaMotherland, and Umqombothi also contributed to her international music status. They and almost every other hit from her are household classics.

8. AKA

AKA, South African rapper

AKA. Photo credit – @akaworldwide

This South African rapper’s real name is Kiernan Jarryd Forbes. AKA is a singer, songwriter as well as a producer. He is also an entrepreneur. The 1988-born music artist hails from Cape Town and has been in the music industry for nearly two decades.

AKA gained popularity in 2011 after releasing the single, Victory Lap. This song is from his debut album, Altar Ego. Other albums that have contributed to his success are Levels, Touch My Blood, Be Careful What You Wish For, and Anatii. He produced these albums between the year 2014 and 2018.

One of his latest hits – Finessin – has had much hype across the country. AKA has also had the opportunity to work with Burna Boy and other famous music artists in Africa. He was featured on WWE live events in Johannesburg and Cape Town as a special guest.

9. Mafikizolo

Mafikizolo duo

Mafikizolo duo. Photo credit – lsureveille

Mafikizolo is a celebrated South African duo that constitutes the composer Theo Kgosinkwe and Nhlanhla Nciza, lead singer. They came together in 1996. They rose to fame following several releases including Udakwa Njalo, Sibongile, Kwela Kwela, and Ndihamba Nawe kuphela.

Over the years, Mafikizolo has won several awards including Best Ring Back Tone, Best Group, and Duo of the year. In 2018, they bagged Duo or Group of the Year, Best Afro-pop album, and Best Engineered Album during the 24th South African Music Awards. In 2020, they release Thandolwethu and Ngeke Balunge which soon became great hits.

10. Elaine


Elaine. Photo credit – @elaineofficial_

Elaine reached number one on iTunes and Apple Music album charts with her debut EP Elements, released in September 2019. She was the first independent female artist to do so. RISA certified the EP platinum a year later.

Elaine’s full name is Ndivhuwo Elaine Mukheli. She was born in the year 1999 and she is a South African music artist. She is also a songwriter who does R&B songs.

Elaine believes that her music career took off in pre-school, she performed a solo, Silent night. She was active in the school choir from age six and went on to compete in various talents. So far, she has won four music awards.


These South African music artists are driving the growth of the music industry in their country. Music is one of the ways through which artists express the rich African culture. Musicians in South Africa are blending this culture with music. As this trend continues, we expect to see more distinctive tunes and unique music genres in South Africa. These South African musicians will continue to influence South African music in the coming years.

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