Marah Louw is a celebrated South African singer and actor.
Marah was born in Soweto and started singing at the age of ten. In the 1970s she toured Japan, Hong Kong, the Philippines and the UK with the musical Meropa.
Subsequently she has starred in countless theatre productions including the international classics, Showboat, Fame, The Crucible, Hairspray and the South African musicals, African Odyssey, Baby Come Duze and Nkosi The Healing Song. She has also enjoyed a solo career touring Zambia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Lesotho, Swaziland, and Namibia.
In June 1988 Marah sang at the Nelson Mandela 70th Birthday Tribute concert at Wembley Stadium, London and she performed at the inaugurations of Presidents Mandela, Mbeki and Zuma and the memorial services of anti-apartheid leaders, Walter Sisulu and Joe Slovo.
In 1993 she performed in George Square and at the Royal Concert Hall during Nelson Mandela’s visit to Glasgow to receive the Freedoms of 9 UK cities. Prior to the first democratic election in South Africa in 1994 she and her band toured the UK fund-raising for the African National Congress organised by the Scottish Committee of the Anti-Apartheid Movement.
In 1995 she performed with Hugh Masekela in Paris and the Egyptian Government invited her as a Guest Artiste to the Cairo International Song Festival. The following year she performed for the Queen of Denmark.
Her acting career included starring in the award-winning feature length film Taxi to Soweto, the musicals Fame and Hairspray as well as starring in the SABC television series, The Queen, and the long-running Venda/Sotho television series Muvhango.
She was the Executive Producer of The Sophiatown Musical Experience and The Miriam Makeba Tribute to Dorothy Rathebe. She was the singer of The Circle of Life in the Zulu version of the award-winning Disney film The Lion King.
She hosted her own television talk show, Marah and Friends, and was a judge on South Africa’s Pop Idols for several seasons. She has released several discs including, Marah Worships…the African Way and in 2017 her autobiography, It’s Me, Marah, was published.
Marah is a former President of the South African Musicians Alliance and in 2021addressed the South African Parliament’s Trade and Industry Committee in support of copyright reform and royalty rights for artists.
Since 1994 Marah has performed at several events in Scotland including at the Scottish Trades Union Congress (STUC) on the 10th anniversary of democracy in South Africa in 2004 and the launch of The Glasgow Mandela Story at Glasgow’s Book Festival, Aye Write! in 2014. Marah returned to Scotland in 2018 to perform at the Nelson Mandela Scottish Memorial Foundation’s fund-raising dinner in the Hilton Hotel, Glasgow.
Marah has received many awards including the Lifetime Achievement Award 2010 from the South African National Department of Arts and Culture and Legend of the Decade Award from the South African Concert Promoters Association. In recognition of her talent and contribution to society South African national brand Ludwig’s Roses dedicated a peach/apricot hybrid to her – the Marah Louw Rose.