This list of South African musicians includes notable individual musicians as well as musical ensembles whose members are South African by birth or nationality.
The South African music scene includes both popular (jive) and folk forms like Zulu isicathamiya singing and harmonic mbaqanga. Other popular genres are Marabi, Kwaito, house music, Isicathamiya, Gqom, rock music, hip hop and Amapiano.
Ladysmith Black Mambazo are a South African male choral group singing in the local vocal styles of isicathamiya and mbube. They became known internationally after singing with Paul Simon on his 1986 album Graceland, and have won multiple awards, including five Grammy Awards, dedicating their fifth Grammy to the late former President Nelson Mandela.
Mbaqanga is a style of South African music with rural Zulu roots that continues to influence musicians worldwide today. The style originated in the early 1960s.
Isicathamiya is a singing style that originated from the South African Zulus. In European understanding, a cappella is also used to describe this form of singing.
Joseph Shabalala, was a South African singer and musician who was the founder and musical director of the choral group Ladysmith Black Mambazo.
The Mahotella Queens is a South African female band formed in 1964 by music producer Rupert Bopape, consisting of Hilda Tloubatla, Nobesuthu Mbadu, and Amanda Nkosi. The group is noted for their distinct vocal harmony sound, guitar-led mbaqanga music, and fast stage dancing.
Simon "Mahlathini" Nkabinde was a South African mbaqanga singer. Known as the "Lion of Soweto", Nkabinde is the acknowledged exponent of the deep-voiced, basso profundo "groaning" style that came to symbolize mbaqanga music in the 1960s. Nkabinde was also a very active live performer in South Africa, recording and performing with the Mahotella Queens and the backing Makgona Tsohle Band from 1964 to 1971, and then again from 1983 to 1999. The Mahlathini and the Mahotella Queens act was propelled into international stardom in the wake of Paul Simon's 1986 Graceland album.
Mahlathini and the Mahotella Queens were a South African mbaqanga supergroup made up of the three musical acts linked together by talent scout and record producer Rupert Bopape at the Gallo Recording Company in Johannesburg, South Africa in 1964. The group composed of the following three distinct parts:
Thamsanqa Shabalala is a member of Ladysmith Black Mambazo, a South African choral group founded in 1960 by his father Joseph. He replaced Joseph as the group's lead singer after his father's retirement in 2015.
The Makgona Tsohle Band was a South African instrumental band that is noted for creating the mbaqanga music style. Mbaqanga is an acculturated popular South African music that emerged in the 19th century. Mbaqanga is also referred to as township jive. The group was formed in 1964 at Mavuthela, and became the Mavuthela house band. It garnered success by backing fellow Mavuthela-Gallo stars, Mahlathini and the Mahotella Queens. It is often referred to as the South African equivalent to Motown's The Funk Brothers.
Gallo Record Company is the largest record label in South Africa. It is based in Johannesburg, South Africa, and is owned by Arena Holdings. The current Gallo Record Company is a hybrid of two South African record labels, rivals between the 1940s and 1980s: the original Gallo Africa (1926–85) and G.R.C.. In 1985 Gallo Africa acquired G.R.C.; as a result, Gallo Africa became known as Gallo-GRC. Five years after the acquisition, the company was renamed Gallo Record Company.
Hilda Semola Tloubatla is a South African mbaqanga singer, and the lead singer of the acclaimed group the Mahotella Queens. Tloubatla was born in Payneville, South Africa before moving to kwaThema township in 1951 as a result of the apartheid government's 'Group Areas Act' in the country.
Nobesuthu Gertrude Mbadu Shawe was a South African mbaqanga singer, and a singer in the acclaimed group the Mahotella Queens.
Mathaka Vol 1 is a 1983 album by the Makgona Tsohle Band, the instrumental backing group for Mahlathini and the Mahotella Queens, all of whom were based as musicians in the Mavuthela Music subsidiary of Gallo Africa.
West Nkosi was a South African music producer, saxophonist and songwriter.
The Indestructible Beat of Soweto, later repackaged as The Indestructible Beat of Soweto Volume One, is a compilation album released in 1985 on the Earthworks label, featuring musicians from South Africa, including Ladysmith Black Mambazo and Mahlathini.
Jaiva, Township jive (TJ), Soweto jive, Soweto sound or Soweto beat is a subgenre of South African township music and African dance form that influenced Western breakdance and emerged from the shebeen culture of the apartheid-era townships.
Matodzi Irene Mawela is a South African singer and composer who has been active since the late 1950s. She is known primarily for her contributions to mbaqanga music and songs made in the Tshivenda language, and has contributed to an estimated 1,000 studio recordings and radio transcriptions.