The Afrolutionist speaks to Zolani Mahola (FreshlyGround)

In a world where profits in the music industry have plummeted harshly over the years, artists have went for cheaper alternatives in producing high quality sound.

The financial plummets have also hit music groups, were groups disband over time and give birth to solo artists with only receive a bite size taste of genuine success. That’s why Freshly Ground has become such a unicorn in the music world.

Having jammed with each other, all for us for close to 13 years, serenading the global spectrum with their magical story telling from stories on body image, to a single father raising his daughter. FreshlyGround has maintained a drama-free, craft focused career since 2002.

This, and a recent win at a South African based award ceremony inspired us to talk to lead singer Zolani Mahola on her recent achievement at the Mobokodo awards, the art industry in the continent as well as a few tips for aspiring artists

You are a recent laureate of the Mbokodo award, a platform which celebrates South African women in the art sector, do you believe that there should be more platforms such as this that celebrate women in arts?

I think that artists in general should be more celebrated. I think what is so wonderful about the Mbokodo awards is the celebration of artistic talent across disciplines within the arts sector and that many of them artists who may not usually be recognized in the mainstream.

The Artistic sector in our continent as a whole has areas of success and of development, what does winning this particular award mean for you as an African artist?

I’m thrilled with this award as it’s a recognition of work that I’ve done as an actress, writer and performer over the years; recognition that I’m getting among my peers all of whom have made incredible contributions to the artistic landscape on the continent.

• Critics usually debate that the Art industry doesn’t show potential to provide true growth to an economy. What are your views on this?

I agree with this statement. One of the things I think would help would be if we had a Union where we could be united across artistic disciplines and find areas where we can come together to create. I think that it would be good and is necessary to have spaces where young talent can be groomed and encouraged to blossom and for me it would be wonderful to one day have the State step in and facilitate this.

This question is for all the true fans of Freshly Ground who have been waiting on some new material, what more in store do you have for us in the near future?

We are working on some new material so you can soon stop holding your breath! We are hoping to collaborate with a fellow African artist who shall be named when it all comes together!

• As part of a six band group that has acquired wild success over the years, can you share a few jewels with young aspiring African artists?

The seven of us have managed to stay together mainly because we enjoy playing music together especially in the live arena. I would encourage any aspiring artists to find people they enjoy making music with and to work hard at honing their craft so they can be the best versions of themselves possible. So in simple terms: practice! practice! practice!!


Have a look at their new video  Don’t leave me