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Is doja cat south african?

Doja Cat, whose real name is Amala Ratna Zandile Dlamini, is an American singer, rapper, and songwriter who has become one of the biggest stars in pop music in recent years. Though she was born and raised primarily in the United States, Doja Cat actually has South African roots through her father, Dumisani Dlamini.

Doja Cat’s Background

Doja Cat was born in Los Angeles, California on October 21, 1995. Her father, Dumisani Dlamini, is a South African actor, producer, and composer who emigrated to the United States. Her mother, Deborah Elizabeth Sawyer, is an American painter and jewelry designer. Doja’s parents met in Los Angeles and she was born shortly after.

Though Doja Cat spent most of her childhood in Los Angeles, she did live in New York for a few years as a child when her mother worked as a scenic artist for Broadway shows. They later returned to LA.

Doja Cat’s father is Zulu and she has said that she visited South Africa as a child. She has stated: “My dad is South African. I’ve been to South Africa a couple times—when I was 2 years old and again when I was 12.” Though she was born in the US, Doja Cat’s South African heritage via her father has been a significant part of her life.

Doja Cat’s Music Career

Doja Cat started making and releasing music as a teenager in the early 2010s, first gaining attention for her work online. She signed with RCA Records in 2014 and released her debut EP “Purrr!” in August 2014. Doja Cat’s eclectic style combines elements of R&B, hip hop, electronic music, and more.

She started gaining more mainstream attention after the release of her 2018 single “Mooo!” which went viral online. Her debut studio album “Amala” was released in March 2019. However, her major breakthrough came with the release of her second album “Hot Pink” in November 2019.

The hit single “Say So” from “Hot Pink” peaked at #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in May 2020. Doja Cat earned Grammy nominations for Record of the Year, Song of the Year, and Best Pop Solo Performance for “Say So.”

She has continued her success with hits like “Kiss Me More” (featuring SZA) and “Woman.” Doja Cat is now considered one of the top stars in pop music today.

Doja Cat’s South African Influences

Though she is an American artist based in the US, Doja Cat’s South African background has influenced her music at times. She occasionally incorporates African languages and instrumentation into her work.

For example, Doja Cat featured the South African group Shasha on the song “Ain’t Shit” from her 2019 album “Hot Pink.” The track includes verses sung in Zulu. She has also sampled African artists like Nomasonto “Mabutfo” Mnisi for her music.

In interviews, Doja Cat has talked about her African heritage: “I’m African, I’m very much African and that’s something that people don’t know about me. My family is from south Africa…being African, it’s a part of my music quite a bit.”

She also told Rolling Stone, “I try to incorporate my culture.” Though based in America, Doja Cat stays connected to her South African roots.

Doja Cat’s Real Name

Doja Cat’s full name at birth was Amala Ratna Zandile Dlamini. Amala is a Hindi word for the plant Indian amaranth. Zandile is a South African name meaning “they love me” in Zulu.

Dlamini is a common surname in southern Africa and among the Zulu people. It was Doja Cat’s father who chose her middle name Zandile specifically to honor her South African heritage even though she was born in the US.

So while Doja Cat goes by her stage name professionally, her birth name reflects her background as the daughter of a South African father.

Doja Cat’s South African Family

Doja Cat’s father Dumisani Dlamini was born in South Africa and moved to the United States to pursue his career in entertainment. He is best known for composing the score for the 2000 film “Sarafina!” which starred Whoopi Goldberg and Leleti Khumalo.

Dumisani Dlamini met Doja’s mother while living in Los Angeles. In South Africa, Doja Cat has extended family including her paternal grandmother, aunts, uncles, and cousins who she remains connected to.

Doja Cat has said that family is very important to her, stating: “I’m big on family. Family is everything to me.” Though America is her home, she values her South African relatives.

She has also indicated she would be open to learning more about South African culture, saying: “I would love to know more about South Africa and the Zulu culture.” Her family ties keep Doja Cat linked to her African roots.

Doja Cat’s Thoughts on Her Identity

Being biracial with an American mother and South African father, Doja Cat has a multicultural background. However she identifies first and foremost as a Black woman.

Doja Cat has stated: “I’m a Black woman. I am. I’m not African-American. I’m American. But I am very much Black and my family is Black.” She embraces her African ancestry from her dad.

She has occasionally faced unfair criticism online from people questioning her Blackness and identity. But Doja has remained proud of who she is, saying: “I’m a Black woman, period.”

Doja Cat stands as an example of the diversity within the African diaspora. Through her South African father, she represents the global reach of Black culture.


In summary, Doja Cat is an acclaimed American singer and rapper who was born in the United States but has South African heritage through her father Dumisani Dlamini. She has embraced her South African background and Zulu roots, incorporating African languages and influences into some of her music.

Though she was born in Los Angeles, Doja Cat’s middle name Zandile reflects her father’s desire to honor their family’s South African origins. She remains connected to extended family in South Africa and open to learning more about the culture. So while American by nationality, Doja Cat proudly represents her South African ancestry.

Year Event
1995 Doja Cat is born in Los Angeles, California to an American mother and South African father
Early 2000s Visits South Africa as a child
2014 Releases her debut EP “Purrr!”
2019 Breakthrough with album “Hot Pink” and hit “Say So”
2020 “Say So” reaches #1 on Billboard Hot 100
2021 Continued success with hits like “Kiss Me More” and “Woman”

This summarizes some key events in Doja Cat’s career showing her rise from debut artist to major pop star, while maintaining her South African roots. Despite her American upbringing, Doja Cat’s identity and music reflect the influence of her African heritage.