Jabulani Hadebe

(1983-12-02) 2 December 1983 (age 37)
Bergville, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa
  • Singer
  • rapper
  • songwriter
  • actor
Years active2005–present
Musical career
LabelsAmbitiouz Entertainment (former)
African Trap Movement
Associated acts

Jabulani Hadebe (born 2 December 1983),[1][2] known professionally as Sjava, is a South African singer, rapper, actor born in BergvilleKwaZulu-Natal. Sjava began his acting career in 2005, starring in several drama series and films including uGugu no Andile (2009).[3] He then rose to prominence on the drama series Zone 14, where he starred for three consecutive seasons. Sjava ventured into the music industry and signed to record label Ambitiouz Entertainment. He gained mainstream popularity after he was featured on Miss Pru's acclaimed song "Ameni" in 2015.

Sjava's debut album, Isina Muva (2016), introduced his experimental sound which fuses afrobeats, hip hop and contemporary R&B.[4] His second studio album, Umqhele, was released in 2018 to a critical acclaim. Umqhele, which continues with his fusion sound, grew his African-influenced image, and consolidated to other international regions (mainly in Africa). Before Umqhele, Sjava also released his debut EP, Umphako, in 2018.[5]

Life and career

Jabulani Hadebe was born in Bergville, KwaZulu-Natal, the son of Thandi Nkabinde (his mother).[6] He is of Hlubi ancestry.[7] Sjava has two older siblings, Sibusiso (his brother) and Sindy (his sister).[8]

Sjava started writing music at an early age. While at the age of ten, Sjava was in charge of writing original lyrics on songs for his all-boy isicathamiya group Abafana baseMpumalanga, while in primary school.[9] He then took composition of music a step further in high school, where he used to turn notes into songs, then teach them to his classmates.[10]


2016–2017: Beginnings and Isina Muva

Sjava's debut recording was a feature on DJ and producer Miss Pru's "Ameni".[11] The successful song also featured then-artists of record label Ambitiouz Entertainment; Emtee, Fifi Cooper, B3nchmarq, and Saudi – who is currently in the label.[12]

On 8 April 2016, he released his debut single as a solo artist, "Ekuseni".[13] He then released his debut album, Isina Muva on 22 July 2016.[14] Its title is derived from a Zulu idiom meaning "late bloomer".[15] Isina Muva was certified Gold by the Recording Industry of South Africa (RiSA) and Sjava celebrated by releasing a deluxe version of the album titled Isina Muva: Gold Deluxe[16][17] The album earned Sjava an award at the 23rd South African Music Awards for Best Produced Album.[18] It also won for a similar category at the 16th Metro FM Music Awards, and received four nominees: Best Afro Pop Album for Isina Muva, Best Male and Best New Artist.[19] Also in 2017, Sjava recorded the theme song for the Mzansi Magic drama telenovela , which premiered on 3 April 2017.[20]

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2017–present: Umphako and Umqhele

The film Black Panther was accompanied by a soundtrack album curated by rapper Kendrick Lamar, which Sjava appeared on.[21] Sjava was featured on the song "Seasons", alongside rappers Mozzy and a producer Sabeloans Reason.[22] The album was nominated at the 61st Annual Grammy Awards for Album of the Year, making it his first nominee at the ceremony for his appearance.[23]

The lead single from Sjava's debut EP Umpakho, "Abangani" featuring Saudi and Emtee was released on 14 June 2018 accompanied by a video paying homage to their humble beginnings.[24][25] On 24 June 2018, Sjava earned a BET Award for Best New International Act at the 2018 event.[26] Umphako was released on 6 July 2018.[27] The four-track project atopped the iTunes local chart on its first day, and is described as Sjava asserting himself as an empathetic worker's champion.[28][29]

Sjava's second studio album Umqhele was released in 14 December 2018.[30] The album's lead single "Umama", was released seven days before the album was available.[31] "Umama" later spawned a version on the global music platform COLORS, where he was featured performing the song on 13 May 2019.[32] Umqhele atopped the iTunes local chart and received positive reviews from critics.[33]
On 26 May 2020, Sjava announced via social media that he has departed his label, Ambitiouz Entertainment. He expressed gratitude towards the label for giving him an "opportunity and platform when no one did".[34]


From 2005 to 2013, Sjava enrolled to acting. He appeared on several television shows; including Zone 14, Generations and Soul City and 7de Laan, uGugu and Andile , Isibaya - he is currently starring on Uzalo and eHostela Season 2.


Studio albums

List of studio albums, with selected information
Title Album details Certification
Isina Muva
RISA: Gold

Extended plays

List of extended plays, with selected information
Title EP details
  • Released: 6 July 2018[35]
  • Label: Ambitiouz Entertainment
  • Formats: Digital download

Awards and nominations

Sjava awards and nominations
  1. ^ Certain award groups do not simply award one winner. They recognize several different recipients, have runners-up and have third place. Since this is a specific recognition and is different from losing an award, runner-up mentions are considered wins in this award tally. For simplification and to avoid errors, each award in this list has been presumed to have had a prior nomination.

Metro FM Music Awards

Year Nominee / work Award Result
Isina Muva
Best Male[36] Nominated
Best New Artist[36] Nominated
Best Afro Pop Album[36] Nominated
Best Produced Album[36][37][38][39][40] Won
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South African Music Awards

Year Nominee / work Award Result
Isina Muva
Best Produced Album[41][42][43][44] Won
Album of the Year Won
Male Artist of the Year Nominated
Best Engineered Album of the Year Nominated
Best Afro Pop Album Won

DSTV Mzansi Viewers' Choice Awards

Year Nominee / work Award Result
Rising Star[46][47][48][49] Won


  1. ^ "Jabulani Hadebe". sampra.
  2. ^ "Sjava on Apple Music". applemusic. Retrieved 4 June 2020.
  3. ^ "uGugu no Andile – Starring Cast". TVSA.
  4. ^ "Sjava – Biography & History". AllMusic.
  5. ^ "Sjava's Umphako EP is an emotion". Music in Africa.
  6. ^ "Sjava's mom sang his song Uthando on stage & everyone melted!". TimesLIVE.
  7. ^ "South Africans hail Sjava for displaying African pride with BET Awards outift". EWN.
  8. ^ "Mama's boy: Sjava and his mom's special relationship". DRUM – PressReader.
  9. ^ "MY LIFE IN WORDS". Bona – PressReader.
  10. ^ "Isina Muva liyabukwa". Mail & Guardian.
  11. ^ "Ameni (feat. Emtee, Saudi, Sjava, Fifi Cooper, A-Reece , mlindo de vocalist& B3nchMarq)". Apple Music.
  12. ^ "Artists who have left Ambitiouz Entertainment". ZAlebs.
  13. ^ "Sjava Drops A New Single Ekuseni". Retrieved 17 September 2017.
  14. ^ "Isina Muva by Sjava". iTunes Store. Retrieved 17 September 2017.
  15. ^ "SPOTTED Sjava Isina Muva Album Launch". Zkhiphani. Retrieved 13 January 2018.
  16. ^ "'ISINA MUVA' BY SJAVA GOES GOLD". HIP HOP NEWS HUB. Retrieved 13 January 2018.
  17. ^ Keteyi, Oluthando. "Sjava's Album Goes Gold and Celebrates with a New Gold Deluxe Version". SA Breaking News. Retrieved 13 January 2018.
  18. ^ "BREAKING NEWS: Sjava Wins Best Produced Album at the #SAMA23 for 'Isana Muva'". Hip Hop Hub.
  19. ^ "Sjava Details Why He Didn't Go To Receive His Metro Award On Stage". SA Hip Hop Mag.
  20. ^ "Isithembiso". TVSA.
  21. ^ "Every South African Artist Featured on 'Black Panther The Album'". Billboard.
  22. ^ "Watch "Sjava on "Seasons" f/ Mozzy & Reason" posted by Ebro Darden". Apple Music.
  23. ^ "Kwesta On Sjava, Saudi & Yugen's Assists On A Grammy Nominated Album". SA Hip Hop Mag.
  24. ^ "Abangani (feat. Emtee & Saudi) – Single by Sjava". Apple Music.
  25. ^ "NEW: Sjava Goes Back To Basics In New Video For Abangani". Zkhipani.
  26. ^ "Sjava Wins at BET Awards 2018". COSMOPOLITAN South Africa.
  27. ^ "Listen to Sjava's New EP 'Umphako'". OkayAfrica.
  28. ^ "Listen to Sjava's New EP 'Umphako'". SA Hip Hop Mag.
  29. ^ "Sjava – Umphako EP". Bimba.
  30. ^ "Latest songs in South Africa this week: Sjava releases Umqhele". The South African.
  31. ^ "Sjava shows love and appreciation to his mother in 'Umama' video". YoMZansi.
  32. ^ "Sjava – Umama". COLORXSTUDIOS.
  33. ^ "Sjava's 'Umqhele' comfortably sitting at the top of SA digital album charts". EWN.
  34. ^ Sjava indlalifa [@Sjava_atm] (26 May 2020). "Statement by Sjava: Sjava departs Ambitiouz" (Tweet). Retrieved 26 May 2020 – via Twitter.
  35. ^ "Umphako – EP by Sjava on Apple Music". iTunes Store. Retrieved 20 July 2018.
  36. ^ a b c d "Metro FM Music Awards: Full list of nominees". channel24. The Juice. Retrieved 13 January 2018.
  37. ^ "FULL LIST: Metro FM Award winners 2017". channel24. The Juice. Retrieved 13 January 2018.
  38. ^ "16th Metro FM Awards 2017 ( Full List of Winners)". Youth Village. Retrieved 13 January 2018.
  39. ^ "WINNERS: 16th Metro FM Music Awards #MMA16". YoMzansi. Retrieved 13 January 2018.
  40. ^ "All the 2017 SAMA winners, revealed". Glamour. Retrieved 13 January 2018.
  41. ^ Canham, Tamlyn. "#SAMA23: Full list of nominees". EastCoastRadio. Retrieved 13 January 2018.
  42. ^ "Here are all the 2017 Sama winners". channel24. Retrieved 13 January 2018.
  43. ^ "This Just In: All The Winners At The 2017 SAMAs". Marie Claire. Retrieved 13 January 2018.
  44. ^ "SAMA23 Winners". South African Music Awards. Retrieved 13 January 2018.
  45. ^ "Sjava Reacts To Winning South African Music Awards #SAMA25". Zkhipani.
  46. ^ "Everything you need to know about the Mzansi Viewers' Choice Awards". Channel24. 21 June 2017. Retrieved 4 July 2017.
  47. ^ "Who Won What And Who Wore What at the Inaugural DSTV Viewers' Choice Awards 2017". Marie Claire. Retrieved 13 January 2018.
  48. ^ "Who won what at the DStv Viewer's Choice Awards". IOL. Retrieved 13 January 2018.
  49. ^ "Here are all the Winners from DStv Mzansi Viewers' Choice Awards". YoMzansi. Retrieved 13 January 2018.
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