JOHANNESBURG — Afro-soul sensation Gugulethu “Berita” Khumalo has found herself a “father”.
And the proud “father” is legendary Zimbabwean-born musician Oliver Mtukudzi, with whom she recently did a song, alongside trumpet czar Hugh Masekela.
Khumalo (24), born in Bulawayo, said she met Mtukudzi through a friend in 2013.
“When I met Bab’uMtukudzi in 2013, he was already talking about my music and was planning to work with me,” she said.
“He invited me to Harare with Bra Hugh and his other African friends to celebrate his musical achievements just after [South Africa’s] Heritage Month in the same year.
“Bab’uMtukudzi takes me as his daughter and I also regard him as a father to me.
“I was lucky enough to perform at a Heritage event in Eastern Cape where Bra Hugh was to perform after me.
“He liked my performance and applauded my music, and that’s how I met Uncle Hugh.”
Talking about her new single Mwana Wamai, featuring the two music heavyweights, she said: “The song is about a young girl who got lost and asked for a helping hand from the community.
“It was inspired by a young girl I met begging in the streets of East London in early 2013.”
Khumalo said working with the two legends had been a dream come true.
“I used to listen to Bab’uMtukudzi when I was growing up, and my father has a large collection of Bra Hugh’s music,” she said.
“Never in my wildest dreams did I think I would one day work with them. They taught me a lot in terms of the music business and how to stay relevant.”
Khumalo holds a Diploma in Financial Information Systems from the Walter Sisulu University.
“My qualification helps me a lot when it comes to managing my finances. I graduated cum laude last year.”
The young musician won the songwriter of the year title award at the June 2015 Wawela Music Awards.
Khumalo was also recently nominated in the inaugural South African Afro Music Awards in the Rising Star category, and had represented South Africa at the Mandela Day celebrations in the Netherlands in July.
On Friday she opened for Afro-soul singer Zonke Dikana at the Kaya FM Presents Live at the Bassline in Newtown, Johannesburg.