5 women leading the charge in SA music

Msaki performing at Kirstenbosch Summer sunset Concert. Photographer: Ayanda Ndamane African News Agency (ANA)

Msaki performing at Kirstenbosch Summer sunset Concert. Photographer: Ayanda Ndamane African News Agency (ANA)

Published Aug 8, 2023


As South African music continues to make waves, South African women are playing a central role in taking local music to new heights.

In celebration of Women’s Day, we look at five women making their mark on the industry.

Uncle Waffles

There’s no other place to start besides for the global amapiano sensation Uncle Waffles.

In the two years since she first exploded onto the scene as an internet sensation, the 23-year-old has established herself as a force to be reckoned with.

While she’s dabbled in radio presenting, creative direction, brand influencing other avenues, Waffles‘ impact has been most felt on the music front through her huge platinum selling hit singles like ‘Tanzania’ and ‘Yahyippiyah’.

Uncle Waffles. Picture: Instagram

Now, Waffles is set to take things to another level with the release of yet another project, ‘An Asylum of Solace’ on August 11. One thing’s for sure, we’ll be listening.


As far as pure vocalists go, there aren’t many who can stand toe to toe with Msaki.

Since she first became a household name through her Sun-El Musician collaboration ‘Ubomi Abamanga’ in 2020, the sweet-voiced singer has continued to give us hit after hit over the years.

Msaki performing at the Prince KayBee listening session at the Universal Studios in Rosebank North of Johannesburg. Picture: Simphiwe Mbokazi/African News Agency(ANA).

Recently, the famously reclusive singer followed up hit collaborations like ‘Fetch Your Life’ and ‘Khusela’ with a mesmeric vocal performance on Karyendasoul’s latest hit single, ‘Jacaranda’.

At this point, if any dance DJ is looking for a hit single, they know exactly where to go.


Cici has long been respected as one of the most talented vocalists we have.

While she’s flown under the radar commercially over the past few years, she recently returned to the main stage in epic style with the inescapable amapiano hit single, ‘Hamba Juba’.

As the single, which she recorded alongside Lady Amar, JL SA, and Murumba Pitch, has exploded into one of the biggest songs of the year so far, Cici has found herself back on the road performing across the country week in week out.

Cici and Lady Amar. Picture: Instagram

To her credit, she’s fully capitalised on this newfound hype with great social media content and a new single alongside DJ Zinhle titled ‘Thula’. It’s looking like one of her best years yet.

DBN Gogo

If anyone thought DBN Gogo was just the flavour of the season when she first blew up with ‘'huza Gogo' and ‘Possible’ back in 2021, they were dead wrong.

The amapiano DJ has shown that she has staying power as she’s remained a central figure in the genre’s continued success over the past few years.

Apple Music recently described her as a game changer who’s contributed massively in the genre’s meteoric rise across the world.

DBN Gogo. Picture: Instagram

“I am honoured and blessed to be representing South Africa and the unique sound of amapiano,” she told to the streaming platform”.

“I want people to dance and enjoy the music, and I’m thankful for the opportunity to push amapiano to the world.”

Ami Faku

Ami Faku is one of those rare artists that are known only for the music.

No scandals, no marketing gimmicks, no shenanigans. Just music.

Since she first gained national recognition in 2017 as a contestant on The Voice SA, the 30-year-old has firmly established herself as a musical force.

After releasing her debut album ‘Imali’ back in 2019, Faku has gone on a scorching run that saw her earn several South African Music Awards (SAMAs) for that very album, as well as several gold and platinum plaques.

Ami Faku. Picture: Instagram

She’s also consistently collaborated with the likes of Kabza De Small and DJ Maphorisa to deliver hit after hit as we await her eagerly anticipated sophomore album.

In yet another global power move Faku was recently featured on reggae legend Bob Marley’s latest posthumous album, ‘Africa Unite’.