|Alma mater||Walter Sisulu University|
Gugugulethu Berita Khumalo is a Zimbabwean born multi-award-winning singer, songwriter, guitarist and music producer based in South Africa.
Beyond the music, Berita’s life story is that of a pan African millennial and one worth elaborating on. She was Born and raised in Zimbabwe. Her real name is Gugulethu Khumalo. Berita is her mother’s name, a name she cherishes and decided to use as her stage name in honour and celebration of her mother Berita Khumalo the woman who birthed and natured her.
It is said that she did not have an interest in music apart from singing at the church choir in Zhombe where she was staying with her family at that time. When she turned 18 ,she started penning some songs and also bought a guitar. Initially, her parents were against the idea of her venturing into music which saw them sending her back to Zimbabwe so that she could focus more on her studies. Despite protestations from her parents, she brought her guitar to Zimbabwe. Gugu released her debut album Conquering Spirit for which she won an award.
Growing up in Zimbabwe, Berita was introduced to music through the circular sounds of Oliver Mtukudzi, Lovemore Majaivana, Andy Brown, Chiwoniso Maraire and the previously popular genre of Urban Grooves. Sounds from South Africa frequented featured in Zimbabwean playlists this is how Berita discovered Brenda Fassie, Yvonne Chaka Chaka, Soul Brothers, Lucky Dube, Mafikizolo and Bongo Muffin.
Due to the economic and political situation in Zimbabwe in the mid 2000s, Berita immigrated with her family to New Zealand where her parents sought greener pastures and found work as dairy farmers. The inherent challenges of living in the diaspora as a first generation immigrant and the pop sounds on radio at the time inspired Berita to pick up guitar and begin writing songs. In 2012 Berita moved to South Africa to pursue tertiary studies at Walter Sisulu University in the Eastern Cape Province. This is when she began performing and recording music, these songs would be the foundation of Berita’s first album.
Now a seasoned musician and fashion fiend, Berita has also collaborated with local South African designers Athenkosi Mgundlwa, KISUA and Rich Factory, incorporating a new look – with a fresh and crisp feel to compliment her evolving sound, and mashes this perfectly with her compelling visuals and touching storytelling for her music videos
With the new dawn of her budding empire, 2019 marks an exciting era in the evolution of Berita – not only as an artist but a brand as well as an entrepreneur. This follows the artist’s bold move of pioneering her independent record label Assali Music, created to bring her vision of creating a hub focusing on the development of female talent, helping them hone their music and business skills, to fruition.
Celebrated for creating music that resonates with people of all walks of life, Berita has touched the hearts of fans and legends alike – having collaborated with world-renowned artists the likes of Yvonne Chaka Chaka, iconic House DJ Oskido, the late industry giants Oliver Mtukudzi as well as, Grammy award-winning Hugh Masekela. Equally comfortable amongst her peers, Berita has also released chart-topping dance hits with duo Black Motion, Mobi Dixon and Da Capo.
In addition, Berita fulfils her aspirations through social justice advocacy –involved in a string of Corporate Social Investment initiatives working with the Almal Foundation, Southern Africa and the WITS Business School advocating for social issues relating to the empowerment and education of women across the continent. These efforts have garnered the attention of prominent philanthropic and political figures who have also joined in supporting the cause – resulting in the artist sharing a platform at a dialogue with former first-lady, Mama Graca Machel where delegates gathered to address possible remedial action targeted at dealing with the devastating effects of natural disasters in the SADC region.
- Conquering Spirit (album)
- Thandolwethu (single)
- Sukundixhesha (single)
- Tell me you love me (single)
- Notyatyambo (single)
- YOURS (single, 2019)
- Ndicel’ikiss (single)
- 2019: Music Artist Of The Year – Zimbabwe Achievers Awards
- 2017: Best Female – Eastern Cape Music Awards
- 2016: Music Artist Of The Year – Zimbabwe Achievers Awards
- 2015: Song Writer Of The Year – Wawela Music Awards
- 2015: Rising Star Of The Year – South African Afro Music Awards
- 2013: Best African Pop Album – Metro FM Music Award
Songbird Berita Khumalo officially off the market, after she revealed that her boyfriend had paid lobola in July 2020 while a white wedding was pushed back due to Covid-19 fears. The songbird took to social media to reveal that she had indeed got hitched during a lobola ceremony that was held virtually in part. While not unmasking fully the identity of her man, she revealed that his surname is Baloyi.
“I enjoy our privacy but this is God’s blessing, I share from a place of pure bliss, love, joy and gratitude. The coming together of two families is a beautiful sacred occasion in African culture. This past weekend the Khumalo and the Baloyi families came together (with a little help from technology due to Covid-19),” she said.
“The Khumalos are excited, bazifumene inkomo zabo. The Baloyis are excited bamfumene umakoti wabo. Family is everything! I am the luckiest girl in the world united for life with the love of my life.
“And on that note please drop me a song for my wedding playlist I am collecting, we’ve got to celebrate all our blessings in a big way once the Covid pandemic is behind us,” she said.
- One on one with Gugulethu 'Berita' Khumalo's mom, Bulawayo24News, Published: July 7, 2013, Retrieved: March 4, 2015
- , Berita Afro Soul, Accessed: 2 August, 2020
- Silence Charumbira, Berita:The girl who took her guitar to college, The Standard, Published: April 21, 2013, Retrieved: March 5, 2015
- Bruce Ndlovu, , The Sunday News, Published: 2 August, 2020, Accessed: 31 August, 2020