Busi Mhlongo

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Busi Mhlongo
Birth name Busisiwe Victoria Mhlongo
Born (1947-10-28)28 October 1947
Inanda, South Africa
Died 15 June 2010(2010-06-15) (aged 62)
Durban, South Africa
Genres Mbaqanga, soul, quiet storm, smooth jazz, soft rock
Occupation(s) Singer-songwriter, record producer
Years active 1960–2010
Labels House of Memory, MELT2000, Stern Music, Sheer Sound, Chissa Records
Associated acts Hugh Masekela, Letta Mbulu, Abigail Kubeka, Miriam Makeba, Caiphus Semenya

Busi Mhlongo (28 October 1947 – 15 June 2010 [1]), born as Victoria Busisiwe Mhlongo, was a virtuoso singer, dancer and composer originally from Inanda in Natal, South Africa.[1][2]


Drawing on various South African styles such as mbaqanga, maskanda, marabi and traditional Zulu, fused with contemporary elements from jazz, funk, rock, gospel, rap, opera, reggae and West African music she produced a fresh and exciting sound. Her infectious music and singing style have a universal appeal and her lyrics carry powerful and poignant messages. In the 1960s, she adopted the artistic name Vickie; only later did she became known by Busi Mhlongo. She was an initiated sangoma, which heavily influenced her music.[3][4]

Mhlongo has worked with other top African folk / pop artists, like Hugh Masekela, Dr. Philip Tabane, Mabe Thobejane, and many legends - Robert "Doc" Mthalane making meticulously produced, melodic and modern South African music.

Her work also spanned more urban styles, with several tracks on UrbanZulu being remixed for the dancefloor.

In 2000, Busi scooped three awards at the FNB South African Music Awards for best female artist, best adult contemporary album (Africa), and best African pop album. Busi has since also scored a KORA award and MELT has released a compilation called Indiza with two new tracks produced by Brice Wassy and a series of remixes by Club 3.30.

The first South African music Benefit concert was held by South African Broadcasting Corporation to celebrate Busi's birthday and raise fund for her hospital bills, President Thabo Mbeki was one of the Honourable guests. In 2010 shortly before her death Swazi Prince Makhosini Dlamini hosted a Tribute Concert for Busi Mhlongo at the Durban Playhouse, featuring Thandi Klassen, Dorothy Masuku, Abigail Kubeka but to name a few. This was to honor her for her work in in Music Industry. Her album UrbanZulu was the very first time that Maskanda has been expressed by a Zulu woman commercially to an international audience.


Busi had been diagnosed with cancer and was undergoing treatment when she died on 15 June 2010. She was with her family, who still live at Ntuzuma, just outside Kwa Mashu.


  1. ^ a b "Subverting and owning maskanda", Mail and Guardian, 18 June 2010.
  2. ^ Harris, Craig. "Biography: Busi Mhlongo". Allmusic. Retrieved 2 May 2010. 
  3. ^ "Busi Mhlongo, queen of modern Zulu music, dead at 62". Mail & Guardian. 16 June 2010. Retrieved 23 January 2012. 
  4. ^ Bradshaw, Paul. "Busi Mhlongo – Urban Zulu & Queen of Maskanda 1947 -2010". Mondomix. Retrieved 23 January 2012. 

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