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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 low­car­bo­hy­drate 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.”


CHANG­ING HER TUNE Songstress Zahara

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