Zola 7 Biography: The Story of a South African Icon

Zola 7 Biography: The Story of a South African Icon

Bonginkosi Dlamini, famously known as Zola 7, was born on April 24, 1977, and grew up in Zola, a township in Soweto, South Africa. His journey to stardom began with his role as the infamous gangster Papa Action in the TV series “Yizo Yizo.” This portrayal earned him national recognition and paved the way for his acting career. Zola’s artistic moniker pays homage to his hometown, reflecting his deep roots and connection to the community.

Bonginkosi Dlamini

24 April 1977 (age 46)

Soweto, South Africa
Nationality South African
  • Musician
  • poet
  • actor
  • TV presenter
  • Radio presenter
Years active 2000–present
Known for Godsent Angel
Musical career
Also known as Zola 7
Genres Kwaito
Instrument(s) Vocals
Years active 2000–present
  • Ghetto Ruff
  • Guluva Entertainment

Early Life 

Beyond his acting prowess, Zola 7 is revered for his philanthropic endeavors. Through his eponymous show on SABC1, he has touched countless lives by helping individuals realize their dreams and fostering personal development. Zola’s commitment to social upliftment extends to initiatives like establishing libraries in underserved communities, embodying the spirit of giving back.

Television Impact

Zola’s influence transcends the screen, with television programs like “Utatakho” and “Hope with Zola” amplifying his impact. Through “Utatakho,” he facilitates emotional reunions between individuals and their biological fathers, drawing from his own experiences of familial challenges. “Hope with Zola” delves into broader societal issues, advocating for sustainable solutions to youth unemployment, housing shortages, and community development.

Zola 7

“Zola 7” was a groundbreaking television show that aired from 2002 to 2010 on SABC1. Hosted by Zola, the show captured the hearts of viewers across South Africa. Each episode centered around a young person striving to achieve their dreams, with Zola providing guidance and support along the way. Through heartfelt storytelling and genuine empathy, Zola 7 inspired countless individuals to pursue their passions and overcome obstacles.


“Utatakho” was another impactful television program, produced by Connect TV and presented by Zola. Premiering in 2015 on Mzansi Magic, the show focused on the emotional journey of participants seeking to find or reconnect with their biological fathers. Drawing from his own experiences, Zola accompanied participants to meetings with their fathers, offering guidance and facilitating important conversations. The presence of a professional counselor added depth to the emotional journey, highlighting the show’s commitment to healing and reconciliation.

Hope with Zola

“Hope with Zola” marks Zola’s continued dedication to social impact and community empowerment. Launched in October 2018 on Moja Love, the docu-reality show delves into pressing social issues such as youth unemployment, housing shortages, and inadequate community resources. Unlike its predecessor, “Zola 7,” which focused on individual stories, “Hope with Zola” takes a broader approach, aiming to address systemic challenges and foster sustainable development within communities. With each 30-minute episode, Zola brings attention to pressing issues while inspiring hope and mobilizing collective action.


Dlamini is part of the newly launched Massiv Metro, an online station pioneered by DJ Sbu


Zola’s contribution to South African music is monumental, particularly in the realm of Kwaito. As a musician, he blends social commentary with infectious beats, using his platform to address the struggles and realities of township life. His music resonates deeply with audiences, offering a voice to the marginalized and shedding light on societal issues often overlooked.

Zola 7 Top Songs

1. Ngomhla Wosindiso
2. Thobile
3. Grey Town
4. Dont CRY ft Thembisile
5. Shosholoza
6. 03 Dont CRY ft Thembisile
7. 13 Thobile
8. 07 Zingu 7
9. E hlale e Zola
10. 10 Grey Town
11. Mbodlomane (pokeman)
12. 09 Nomhle
13. Ehlala Zola
14. Seven
15. Palesa
16. 06 E hlale e Zola
17. 19 Shosholoza
18. Mdlwembe
19. Zingu 7
20. Bhambatha
21. E hlale e Zola (the song)
22. Woof Woof
23. It’s Your Life
24. Ghetto Scandalous
25. Jongosi
26. Party
27. Lwandle
28. Phezulu
29. Ngudu
30. Intro


Zola 7’s legacy extends beyond entertainment, encompassing a commitment to social change and empowerment. His advocacy for youth integration into the music industry and dedication to uplifting his community exemplify his status as a cultural icon.


  • Yizo Yizo (season 2)
  • Zola 7
  • Rolling with Zola
  • Zabalaza (season 3)
  • aYeYe (season 1)
  • Isibaya (seasons 3 and 4)
  • iNkaba (season 1)
  • Utatakho (season 1)
  • Zaziwa (season 1)


  • Drum (2004)
  • Tsotsi (2005)


  • Umdlwembe (2000)
  • Khokhovula (2002)
  • Bhambatha (2004)
  • Ibutho (2005)
  • Tsotsi (soundtrack of the 2005 motion picture)
  • Impepho (2009)
  • Unyezi (2011)
  • Intathakusa (2014)


He has four South African Music Awards – SAMA

  • Artist of the Year – 2002
  • Best Soundtrack – Yizo Yizo
  • Best Music Video – Ghetto Scandalous
  • Best Kwaito Album – Umdlwembe

He also received three Metro FM Awards 2001

  • Song of the Year – Ghetto Scandalous
  • Best Album of the Year – Umdlwembe
  • Best Kwaito Album – Umdlwembe

Through platforms like Massiv Metro, he continues to inspire and empower future generations, leaving an indelible mark on South African culture.

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