On the day its national football team plays its second match at the 2010 FIFA World Cup being held here, South Africans awoke to news of the death of musician Busi Mhlongo.

The artist from the Kwa-Zulu Natal region - whose track "We Baba Omncane" (off 'Urban Zulu', 1999) was used for a global Adidas campaign in the early 2000s - had been fighting breast cancer for several years and died at the Albert Luthuli hospital in Durban on June 15. She was 62.

Damon Forbes, managing director of Johannesburg-based Sheer Sound, which released Mhlongo's debut "Babhemu" (a joint effort with the artist Twasa), described the mother-of-one as "a strong-minded woman who believed she should be heard."

"Busi said what she thought and believed in herself and her right to be recognized locally as well as internationally for what she represented within the Zulu culture - not only as an ambassador but as a incredible musical talent and amazingly spiritual person," Forbes commented.

Cape Town-based producer Gabi le Roux expressed the emotions of many in the music industry when he said, "It is with great sadness that we learnt of the passing of another Queen of the SA Music Industry and true custodian of Zulu culture." Gabi le Roux had worked with Mhlongo on her album "Indiza - Voyages Through New Sounds."

Mhlongo released a series of studio albums through both M.E.L.T. 2000 and Sheer Sound since the mid-1990s. "Urban Zulu" is considered Mhlongo's classic album. The Will Mowat-produced album earned the Zulu singer a trio of South African Music Awards in 2000 including best female artist.

Her signature Zulu traditional music blended with soul, jazz and pop, and was heard most recently on "Amakholwa Believers," which earned Mhlongo nominations for female artist of the year, best album and best adult contemporary album: African at the 2010 South African Music Awards.

Mhlongo's impact on a younger generation of artists was underscored with her featured vocal on "We Baba," a track by young dance music hotshot Culoe De Song, which was up for song of the year at this years SA Music Awards. Mhlongo was also known for her scorching live performances which saw her give full expression to her Zulu roots through her dancing and singing.