6 September 2011
| 6 September 2011 (2011-09-06)|
The Beginning Live
The CCP Record Company (Pty) Limited
South African Music Award for Album of the Year
Phendula, The Beginning Live, Country Girl, La pareja tóxica, La Fabulosa Historia D
Loliwe (English: The Train) is the debut studio album by South African singer-songwriter Zahara, released on 6 September 2011. The album's production was handled by Robbie Malinga and Mojalefa Thebe. Georgyn Kanana made a guest appearance on it. The album was supported by the singles "Loliwe" and "Ndiza". It sold over 20,000 copies and reached gold status within 72 hours of its release. Four weeks after it was released, the album sold 210,000 copies in South Africa. Furthermore, Loliwe sold 350,000 copies after four months of being on the market. It is the second fastest selling album in South African history behind Brenda Fassie's Memeza, which sold over 500,000 copies.
Zahara wrote most of the songs for her debut album prior to her record deal with TS Records in August 2010. In her songs, she references apartheid activists like Walter Sisulu, Nelson Mandela and Helen Joseph. The track titled "Loliwe" refers to the train that brought workers back home after many years away working in Johannesburg where they often had other families. According to Zahara, "For me it is a metaphor. It's like ... just pick yourself up. No matter who's your father or who's your mother ... I believe that you're not a mistake."
TS Records released the album's lead single "Loliwe" on 31 August 2011. The music video for the single was directed by Ash Dibben and produced by Mastermax Films.
"Ndiza", the album's second single, was released on 25 November 2011. Zahara describes the song as "a place one goes to make their heart pure". The music video for the single, directed by Hypnotic Films, has eclipsed the 900,000 views mark on YouTube.
Upon its release, Loliwe was met with positive reviews. Simah of MOMIX gave the album an 8 out of 10, stating: "The album actually proves the opinions I've been hearing about it. And it serves as one of the most powerful debuts by a South African woman. She certainly possesses the golden touch because her talent is enough to make her shine and reach for her destiny."
Claire Martens of Music Review South Africa assigned a normalized score of 92 out of 100, adding: "Set against the strumming of her guitar and the infusion of African-style beats, the music tends towards simplicity and integrity. Having said that, the album is not perfect. I thought the song “My Guitar” was her weakest offering and inappropriately placed. I also felt like the first part of album is stronger than the rest, “Umthwalo” and “Loliwe” being the pinnacle, throwing the rest of the album off kilter. Bar this, Loliwe comes close to perfection."
At the 18th Annual South African Music Awards, the album won the Best Selling Album, Album of the Year and Best Smooth Urban Music Album accolades. Loliwe was nominated for Best Produced Album and won Best Female Album at the 2011 Metro FM Music Awards.
All tracks written by Bulelwa Mkutukana, Robbie Malinga and Mojalefa Thebe.