Zolani Mahola's happy to be lean and mean
FOR years it has been her voice that has mesmerised fans, but lately it is Zolani Mahola's dramatic weight loss that has tongues wagging.
While not willing to say just how much she has lost, the Eastern Cape-born lead singer of Afro-pop group Freshlyground says it took her a year to shed the kilos by cutting out fatty foods, exercising and dancing.
The result - a lighter, leaner and much more energetic Mahola.
But some would rather believe she lost the weight smoking dagga.
"Everybody has an opinion and not everyone has been negative about my weight loss. Those who are saying that I have been smoking dagga are just an example of bored people making up stories - while high on dagga probably," Mahola says.
"Either way it really does not matter because I am a musician, not a plaything that belongs to the general public."
Mahola, 31, says she was bored of being fat and had been battling health problems associated with being overweight.
"Physical and mental fatigue were examples of these and of course shortness of breath with simple things like walking up a few flights of stairs. That was not very good, especially being a stage performer in high-energy shows with Freshlyground. I made up my mind to change my appearance and my body followed," she says.
"I felt too heavy and you know that after the age of 30 the body just gets slower and slower.
"I worked out and it worked for me. I did a lot of dancing, which is partly why our new album is called Take Me to the Dance."
Mahola advises others to take care of their bodies: "You can't expect to eat and drink whatever is on offer in the world and expect to be healthy. It does not work like that: sooner or later one's lifestyle catches up.
"People can say what they like about me but it would be great if they listen to the music because this is the only way I am available to them. After 10 years in the music industry we are really coming into our own, creating something new.
"Freshlyground is all about the music, not kilograms."
This article was first published in the printed newspaper on 24 October 2012