Zahara cleans up her act
Zahara (Photo: Supplied)
Cape Town - Zahara has been waging war on weight and booze as she prepares to start a new life as a married woman.
“I hated myself every time I saw my reflection in the mirror. My weight killed my spirit and my confidence,” says the 28-year-old songbird, whose real name is Bulelwa Mkutukana.
She says her weight caused her to become depressed, and when she was 24, she looked twice her age. She has also substantially reduced her drinking.
“I have cut down on alcohol. I’ve realised what negative publicity it gave me in the past. I really want to be a role model for the young kids out there and motivate them to do good in growing this beautiful country,” she says.
Zahara has slimmed down to a size 32 from a size 38. It was only in 2013, when her career was at its peak, that she became insecure about her body.
“At times I didn’t want to perform because I hated my body,” she says. “I was so depressed. My fans my age would call me ‘sisi Zahara’ because they thought I was old.”
One day when she was putting on a pair of pants, the zip broke. She decided she’d had enough. “I had no choice but to wear a dress that I didn’t like at all,” she says.
“Seeing other female artists who took care of their bodies inspired me to do something about my weight.” Last December she started the low-carbohydrate Atkins diet, and cut out sugar, bread and rice. Her weight loss has boosted her confidence and now she can wear a bikini on the beach.
“I feel good about myself and it doesn’t matter what the next person thinks of me. I’m comfortable with my body,” she says.
She now has a new fiancé – Umhlobo Wenene FM deejay Amaza Ntshanga – and a new single, titled Ndingubani, featuring DJ Sbu. “I’m excited. I can’t wait to be umakoti and be a mother,” she says.
Zahara says she couldn’t show her man off in public before because he hadn’t paid lobola. “Now I’m proud to show him off because he has done things the right way,” she says.
Her advice to young people struggling with weight problems is if she did it, anyone could.
“My next step is to go to different schools and do motivational talks to inspire young girls on how to take care of their bodies and the importance of eating healthily from a young age,” she says. “A healthy lifestyle means a positive mind. I’m fearless and I can tackle anything in life.”
On December 3, Zahara will be performing at the Reconciliation Festival
event in Carnival City, Boksburg. The line-up includes Lira, Zahara, Zonke and
Micasa, Amanda Black, Smanga and many more.