Capetonians will have the opportunity next week to experience the raw and soulful sounds of legendary South African rocker Karen Zoid, with guitarist Henry Steel, in an unforgettable unplugged performance. Stripped down to the essence of their music. An absolute must-see at Pieter Toerien’s Theatre On The Bay: 27 June – 1 July.

Born in Brussels to a South African diplomat, Zoid grew up in Belgium before moving to Johannesburg. Here she attended the National School of the Arts before going on to study drama at AFDA. In 2001, she dropped out of university to focus her attention on music.

Since releasing her first solo album, Poles Apart (2002), Zoid has become such an important part of the home grown scene that her name is now the byword for emotionally charged, downright incendiary South African rock music. The press renamed her followers the ‘Zoid Generation’.

What’s more, through the last decade, Zoid has managed that unusual and frequently tricky feat of balancing popular appeal with critical praise; of securing an audience of both Afrikaans and English speakers; of retaining her individuality in a market known for its desire for ‘sameness’. And through it all, Zoid has held onto an enviable integrity that allows her to speak her mind in a way that only earns her more devotees and proved no barrier to being named Best Female Artist at the 2008 South African Music Awards.

Zoid was a judge on the South African version of the singing competition The Voice. (Credit: Supplied).

Zoid’s super-charged rock energy is an ability to write gorgeous, delicately rendered songs that speak of the emotional vortex that drives this exceptional artist to keep creating. ‘Zoid Afrika’, her latest album shows that Karen Zoid is South Africa’s premier female rock artist, full stop. She has shared the staged with international acts like John Mayer, Annie Lennox, Metallica, Simple Plan, Hothouse Flowers, Seal and UB40.

During her career, Zoid has earned various accolades (including gold album sales) but she says that what continues to drive her is a deep-seated desire to create music that she can get up on stage and play live.

“When I was in that all-girl punk band, or busking or when I am playing to a huge crowd, the feeling I get from delivering my music is still the same – and that’s why I do this. All the stuff that goes around making an album – the promo, the interviews, making videos, the artwork … that’s work. Playing live? That’s what I love.”

Rock-singer-songwriter Karen Zoid. (Photo credit: Ben Reinecke).

Interesting facts:

Music from Zoid’s albums has been included on the audio entertainment of international flights to and from South Africa.

Zoid has also written music for television, with two of her songs featuring in the 2006 movie “Number 10”.

On 3 May 2008, she won her first SAMA award for Best Female Artist.

Karen Zoid performed at the inaugurations of Presidents Thabo Mbeki in 2004, and Jacob Zuma in 2009. She and her band also performed at the Nelson Mandela 46664 HIV/AIDS benefit concert in 2005. 

Zoid and her band have had several concerts in London, mainly to South African audiences. In 2006 they performed in London, Canada and Dubai (at the Dubai Desert Rhythm Festival).

Karen Zoid and Stellenbosch guitarist Henry Steel Jr. (Photo credit: Ben Reinecke).

Tickets range from R150 – R250, and are available from Webtickets or the Theatre On The Bay box-office (021) 438-3300/1.

Booking link: