South Africa’s Tyla makes history as youngest African artist to clinch a Grammy award

South African singer Tyla won her first Grammy Award at the 66th annual award show, for her hit song ‘Water. Picture: Recording Academy/X

South African singer Tyla won her first Grammy Award at the 66th annual award show, for her hit song ‘Water. Picture: Recording Academy/X

Published Feb 5, 2024


South Africa’s own Tyla became the youngest African artist to win a Grammy award, at the age of 22 for her viral hit song Water.

She won the award for “Best African Performance” at the 66th annual Grammy Awards on Sunday.

This year marked the introduction of the Best African Music Performance category to the awards.

South Africa had a notable presence at the Grammys, with Trevor Noah hosting the awards for a fourth time and nominated for “Best Comedy Album”.

Acapella group Just 6 were nominated in the “Best Arrangement, Instrumental or Acapella” category, while Musa Keys was nominated for “Best African Performance” for his collaboration with Nigerian artist Davido.

In accepting the award, an elated Tyla said: “I never thought I’d say I won a Grammy at 22 years old. Last year God decided to change my whole life. Thank you so much to God, my team, my family, I know my mother’s crying somewhere in here. Thank you to the recording academy for this category. It's so important."

Congratulations came pouring in with President Ramaphosa saying: “Woke up to the news of our very own Tyla winning the Best African Music Performance for her song Water at the #Grammys. She is the youngest African to win such a prestigious award, adding herself to list of eminent South African artists and musicians who have made an indelible mark on the world stage. @Tyllaaaaaaa we congratulate you and we celebrate with you. Your win affirms South Africa’s sustained success in various international fora. Thank you for your authenticity and for flying the flag.”

Minister of Arts and Culture, Zizi Kodwa said: “Tyla’s Grammy Award win once again confirms her status as a music global superstar. Her meteoric success has been truly inspiring, and there is so much more to come. Tyla is a proud ambassador of South African arts and culture. I congratulate Tyla for a historic Grammy Award win, which comes before she has even released a full album. Continue to inspire and to raise the South African flag high”.

Western Cape Cultural Affairs and Sport MEC Anroux Marais said: “The Western Cape Government wishes to congratulate Tyla on this amazing achievement. Once again, South Africa is making an impact on international stages, and this is testament to the talent that we have in our country. We are incredibly proud.”

In an interview with the Recording Academy after receiving the award, she said: “I’ve always been an advocate for African music. I love African music. It's the music I make, it’s the music I listen to and I’ve believed in it for so long. I’m just happy it’s getting recognition now. It’s an amazing time.”

Cape Times