#Folktober artist profile – Berita
12 Oct 2020 MUSIC
Berita is a multi-award winning singer-songwriter, guitarist and music producer. Berita is the founder of her own recording and talent management company Assali Music.
Berita was introduced to South Africa in 2012 with a stunning debut ‘Thandolwethu’, now revered as a classic South African ballad. Berita has gone on to release three studio albums to critical and commercial acclaim, earning platinum sales and multiple coveted awards. 2020 began with Berita’s much anticipated release of her fourth studio album “Songs in The Key of Love” album which debuted number 3 on itunes on the 28th of February 2020. The album’s leading single Jikizinto peaked at number 1 on the Radio Monitor charts making Berita the first Solo female and independent to have a number 1 record in the new decade.
Noted music career highlights include winning a Metro FM music award for Best African Pop Album (2013), Wawela Songwriter of the year award (2014), Zimbabwe Achievers Award for Music Artist of the year (2016, 2019) Afro-soul Song of The Year Award at the SkyzMetro Awards in her hometown of Bulawayo (2019). Berita’s chart topping 2019 single release ‘Ndicel’ikiss’ the single was picked up for an international Netflix feature film, Holiday In The Wild, starring Rob Lowe and Kristin Davis. Berita maintains an active live performance schedule in South Africa and around the continent gracing festival stages in East and Southern Africa including the Bayimba International Festival (Uganda), Lake of Stars Festival (Malawi), Jakaranda Music Festival (Zimbabwe) and Cape Town International Jazz festival (South Africa).
Known to make classic music that resonates with people of all walks of life, Berita has touched the hearts of African legends collaborating with the likes of Mama Africa, Yvonne Chaka Chaka, the late world renowned Zimbabwean giant Oliver Mtukudzi, Grammy award winning Hugh Masekela and house DJ icon Oskido. Equally comfortable amongst her peers Berita has released chart topping collaborations with dance DJs Black Motion, Mobi Dixon, Da Capo and renowned hip hop producer PH RAW X.
In 2018 Berita found her independence, establishing her own recording and talent management company Assali Music and touring East and Southern Africa. She has since purchased the masters to her first two albums back, played major festival stages in South Africa and released her fourth studio album. The industry is definitely taking more serious note of her work ethic and the formidable business woman she’s developed into. Berita was honoured along-side the legendary PJ Powers at the 16t h annual Moshito Music Conference and exhibition in 2019, which is also known as one of the continent’ biggest music business gatherings.
Berita is passionate about social issues relating to female empowerment and believes in the economic empowerment of the girl child she has collaborated with Yvonne Chaka Chaka the Princess of Africa on a song relating to this. The vision for her record label Assali Music is to develop upcoming female talent. She has worked with notable institutions setting up a Benefit concert with The Almal Foundation, fundraising with The Southern Africa Trust as well as sitting on the panel alongside Mama Graca Machel at the WITS Business School on advocacy around philanthropic responses to social issues.
Her sense of style is an extension of her music – bold, authentic and Proudly African.
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.
Growing up in Zimbabwe Berita was introduced to music through the circular sounds of Oliver Mtukudzi, Majaivana, Andy Brown, Chiwoniso Maraire and the previously popular genre of Urban grooves. Sounds from South Africa frequently featured in Zimbabwean playlists this is how Berita discovered Brenda Fassie, Yvonne Chaka Chaka, Soul Brothers, Lucky Dube, Mafikizolo and Bongo Muffin.
Berita has become a veritable fashion figure, with her ladylike sense of style. The musician is known for her signature african print headwraps usually paired with African designers outfits.
Berita’s style represents in many ways the fulfillment of the dreams millions of mothers and grandmothers have for their daughters, modest. It’s easy to see how designers by the likes of Athenkosi ZA, Khosi Nkosi, Rich Factory, Levi’s Haus Africa , Mmuso Maxwell, Imprint and Kisua have built tangible working relationships with the musician.
Due to the economic and political inconsistencies in Zimbabwe in the mid 2000s, Berita had to immigrate 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. It’s been a blissful 7 years thus far, Berita continues to blaze ahead in her own lane with an authentic blend of sweet Afro-soul music.