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Thandiswa was fresh off a defeat in a singing competition when producer Don Laka found her and introduced her to South Africa's socially conscious kwaito act Bongo Maffin. For the next eight years she was an integral part of the group, lending her soulful vocals and songwriting skills to the band's eclectic sound. Thandiswa's 2006 solo debut, Zabalaza, found instant international recognition thanks to its pan-national mix of RnB and soul. She's been compared to Lauryn Hill for her role in bringing kwaito to a broader audience in the same way Hill made hip-hop more widely accessible.

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