The full story of what happened to Zahara: Liver Cirrhosis, family drama and contributing factors

In the late evening of December 11, 2023, South African Sports, Arts, and Culture Minister Zizi Kodwa broke the news that Zahara had died and succumbed to her condition. This came as a shock to all her South African fans, who were indeed hoping that the musician would recover.

Before her death, Zahara had expressed sentiments of sadness towards how the South African paparazzi and media had ill-treated her. Exploiting her personal life for clout. She said that she gave South Africa her all, and they gave very little in return.

She would ask the media to focus on her music and not her personal life until her death. In this article, we will look at the events surrounding her death, why she started drinking, and her legacy.

A quick background of Zahara’s medical condition

Two weeks ago, Zahara was hospitalized for a liver-related complication. While the details were initially blurred, it eventually came out that her liver was damaged beyond any foreseeable recovery. That gave rise to the potential need for a liver transplant.

Zahara was engaged to Mpho Xaba at the time of her death
Zahara was engaged to Mpho Xaba at the time of her death

Zahara had a condition called liver cirrhosis, which is essentially the scarring of the liver to the point of liver failure as a result mostly of chronic alcohol abuse.

But those who knew Zahara growing up would say she was anything but a drinker. So, what led to her alcoholism?

Factors that may have contributed to her Alcoholism

Well, this is believed to be the reason. In 2014, Zahara’s younger brother was murdered in East London, Eastern Cape. He was found with multiple gunshot wounds and only his cellphone missing.

These were really devastating news for Bulelwa, who really loved her younger brother to death. Most people around her say she never truly recovered from this fatal blow. No matter how hard she tried, it seemed like that day couldn’t leave her head.

Bulelwa Mkutukana died of a liver related complication
Bulelwa Mkutukana died of a liver-related complication

As a result, after 2014, she became a heavy drinker and never recovered. Unlike casual drinkers, it seems as though Zahara was using the bottle to forget her pain instead of facing it.

However, as you can imagine, it can’t be easy to face the death of your younger brother. Especially because he was murdered.

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The journey Zahara walked to rehabilitation and healing

Her heavy drinking continued for years. To the point that she was hospitalized for a liver complication years ago. The doctor even warned Bulelwa to stop drinking. Saying she wouldn’t survive further damage to the liver next time.

This is exactly what happened this time after she ignored the warning and continued drinking. But, as you can imagine, quitting alcohol is actually extremely hard.

Zahara tried to be sober and would tell her close friend about her journey. But perhaps it was just too late, as she was once again hospitalized over a liver complication that led to her death.

Family Controversies while Zahara was sick

This was a fatal blow to her mother. She has now lost two of her children. Some of her sisters were alleged to be shopping while the music star was in the hospital, according to another report.

Zahara’s manager seemed to confirm the incident but didn’t want to comment further. Her fiancé, Mpho Xaba, was the only one with Zahara at the time of her death.

He supported her all the way to the end. In fact, at some point, Zahara’s family was barred from seeing her by Xaba. Xaba was the one who was facing the hospital bills as well.

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Zahara said Mzansi gave her very little in return

Zahara’s death was definitely a fatal blow to all who heard it. Her music brought nothing but healing to those who listened to it. The pressures of fame and paparazzi didn’t give her the privacy and time she needed to heal. But only continued to poke the wound.

Tributes pour in for Zahara who died recentlty after 2 weeks in the Hospital
Tributes pour in for Zahara who died recentlty after 2 weeks in the Hospital

In her later years, Zahara would complain about that. Saying that she had given her all to South Africa but that they had done very little for her.

At the time of such sentiments, it’s said that Zahara was even considering leaving South Africa to settle overseas. Where she believed she would find peace. But instead, she stayed and left us in such a manner that none of us would’ve desired.

Was she drugged, as other speculations say?

Some allege that the songstress was drugged with a traditional sorcery herb called Muthi. This is because for those who believe in that sort of thing, they say Zahara had just gotten engaged and was finally happy.

Zahara died at the age of 36
Zahara died at the age of 36

As a result, they allege that her enemies didn’t want her to be happy and drugged her. But that’s not exactly what the evidence seems to suggest. While it’s possible that she was poisoned, it seems unlikely. This is because she was already in a long battle against alcohol.

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From her 2011 album, Loliwe, to her latest projects. Zahara will always be remembered as a selfless healer who healed South Africa with her talent and gift, regardless of how they treated her in return, failing to give her the very same respect and love.

Indeed, Zahara was dealing with a lot and preferred for people to focus more on her music, as her personal life was hard for her to talk about except through music.

But most questions to Zahara were directed at her personal life, something she later said really didn’t help her deal with the things she was facing. We hope she’s in a better place and wish her family would find the healing they need in this time of sorrow.