Zwai Bala on stage

Zwai Bala co-founded the kwaito group TKZee.

Zwai Bala (born 15 February 1975) is a South African musical director, composer, singer, songwriter, arranger, teacher and public speaker. He is best known for being in the vocal trio The Bala Brothers. He performed with TKZee at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa. 

His career has evolved from the kwaito trio into a musical entrepreneur. He is one of the top crossover producers and musical directors in South Africa. He and the other two members, Tokollo Tshabalala and Kabelo Mabalane, make up TKZee.

Zwai Bala
Zwai Bala biography
Zwai Bala is a kwaito and gospel musician.
Background Information
Full name:Zwai Bala
Born:15 February 1975 (age 49 years old)
Place birth:Uitenhage, Eastern Cape
NationalitySouth African
Education:St Stithians College
Alma mater:Berklee College of Music
Parents:Sebenzile Jafta, Veronica Bala
Siblings:Loyiso Bala, Phelo Bala, Pinky Bala
Occupation:Singer, actor
Years active:1997-date
Genre:Kwaito, Gospel
Affiliation:The Bala Brothers, TKZee
Spouse:Melani Bala

Early Life

Zwai Bala was born on 15 February 1975 in Uitenhage, Eastern Cape, South Africa. He comes from a musically gifted Bala family. He has two brothers, Loyiso Bala and Phelo Bala, and a sister, Pinky Bala. Zwai is the the eldest son.

His father, Sebenzile Jafta, best known as Tatu Jafta, died suddenly after going to the hospital in February 2024. Together with his brothers, he formed a vocal trio, The Bala Brothers. Veronica Bala is the mother of the Bala brothers.

Education

Bala attended the Drakensberg Boys Choir School near Winterton, KwaZulu-Natal. He matriculated from St Stithians College in 1994. He holds an online Master’s Certificate in Orchestration for Film and Television from Berklee College of Music in Boston.

Bala continued to educate himself musically at reputable institutions such as the London-based Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music, UNISA, and the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama in Glasgow, UK.

Career

Bala entered the talent scout Golden Voice Competition organized by the Drakensberg Boys Choir (DBC) in 1987. He made it to the Final 7.

Zwai received a bursary to the DBC and became the first black pupil ever at the school. While he was in his first year, he became a chorister, and after a year, he bagged the Tenor Soloist of the Year.

The singer started his professional music career when he met Kabelo Mabalane and Tokollo Tshabalala in high school. They formed the Kwaito group TKZee and released singles Take It Eezy and Phalafala, which became a hits.

They featured Benni McCarthy in a single in 1998 during the France World Cup. He produced the song, which hit over 280,000 units.

The group has received several awards and recognitions. They returned from the 1999 SAMAs with five awards for Best Kwaito Single, Best Kwaito Album, Best Single, Best Video, and Best Duo or Group.

In 2001, they bagged another SAMAs Best Kwaito single for Izinjazam. Their track Lifted, from Zwai Bala Presents Lifted Volume 1, received the best rap single. He has directed several projects.

Bala directed the 7th Annual SAMA Awards at the Sandton Convention Centre, M-Net’s Face of Africa in 2001, and Evolution aired on SABC 1 in 2002. 

Other projects he has worked on include Tribute/SABC 2 Achievers Awards 2003, Siyaphezulu Workshop, Johannesburg, and Telkom/SABC 3 Christmas Concert at the Sandton Convention Centre.

Zwai has directed and conducted an 8-piece live band and the JMI Orchestra at the Old Mutual Captains of Industry Dinner.

In 2004, the director handled the 10th Year Democracy Celebration Concert at Union Buildings, Pretoria. In 2006, Zwai composed the score featured in the Handover Ceremony of the Soccer World Cup in Germany.

Zwai was the musical director and composer of the first annual Stars of Mzansi Awards. He directed the opening of Parliament and closing ceremony of the 10-Year Celebration in Athlone Stadium, Cape Town.

Bala was a soloist with Duke of Cornwall Singers while he was in Standard 8 at St. Stithians College. After high school, he was with The Chanticleer Singers. 

The singer has performed at prominent events, including the Telkom/702 Christmas Concert. He was a featured soloist at the Classical FM/ Lexus Soiree at the Sandton Intercontinental.

Zwai Bala has also co-produced several songs – Tshepo Tshola’s Winding Rivers and Waterfalls. He worked in the studio with his whole Bala family (mother, sister, brothers, and cousins) on a Gospel debut album, Genesis. The song earned a SAMA nomination for Best Gospel Performance.

The singer produced Grace by two-time Grammy Award winner Soweto Gospel Choir in 2009.

Zwai is also an actor. He has appeared in many television shows – Isidingo, All You Need is Love (2nd season), and Classical Countdown. He was a judge at the 2023 Coca-Cola Popstars, South Africa.

Bala has appeared on world stages and studios in opera performances, musicals, and theatrical plays.

Personal Life

Zwai Bala son
Zwai Bala and his son.

Zwai Bala and his ex-wife Melani Bala have two children and announced their separation in October 2017. The duo were together for seventeen years and met at 20-something.

In 2020, Bala announced on his social media platform he was expecting a baby with his new partner. However, the identity of the mother remains unknown.