Marah Louw (also known as Marah Louw Thomson and commonly misspelled as Mara Louw) is a South African singer and actress who began singing at the age of 10 with the choir Imilonji Kantu.
In 1973 she joined Caiphus Semenya's musical, Meropa and toured Japan, Hong Kong, The Philippines, South Africa and London and sang for the Queen at a Royal Command Performance in 1975. On her return to South Africa, Marah's solo career took her to Zambia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Lesotho, Swaziland and Namibia.
Marah performed in the Mandela Concert at London's Wembley Stadium, she sang at the Newsmaker of the Year Awards for Nelson Mandela, FW de Klerk and in honour of the late Chris Hani.
She appeared with Nelson Mandela during his visit to Glasgow in 1993 and sang at George Square and The Royal Concert Hall.
In 1994 she sang at the inauguration of President Nelson Mandela and for the Freedom Day Celebrations at the Union Buildings in Pretoria.
Marah has toured Scotland, England, Wales, Switzerland, France, Egypt and Denmark, where she performed for the Queen in 1995 and the Prime Minister in 1998.
In 2001 Marah produced the successful musical concert Surf, which featured top South African artists including Hugh Masekela. Marah translated the music of The Lion King into Zulu for the Walt Disney Corporation and performed the theme song Circle of Life in Zulu.
She had a lead role on the SABC2 television soap opera Muvhango and has acted in numerous musicals, stage plays and feature films.
Marah is a popular choice for corporate events and special dinner functions with a band or backing tracks. Her repertoire includes Lady is a Tramp, Wimawe, the Click song, Patta Patta, New York, New York, Wind Beneath my Wings, When a Child is Born and other well-known favourites.
Marah was named Best Female Vocalist by Radio Sotho and Zulu in 1984. She was nominated for an Artes Award for her album Mara and won an Artes Award for Best Performance with the National Symphony Orchestra in the Jo'burg Pops Concerts.
She was a permanent judge on the M-Net reality competition series Idols from Seasons 2-6, which aired from 2003-2010.
In 2007 she hosted her own cooking show on SABC2 called Mara Louw and Friends, in which she interviewed celebrities while cooking with them.
In 2010 she starred in the first season of the SABC2 sitcom Skwizas, about a group of elderly friends ("skwizas") as they bustle through the idiosyncrasies of life in Skywards Retirement Village. She left the show after one season and her role was not recast.
In 2013 she starred as Girlie in the first season of SABC1's Friday night drama series Tempy Pushas, returning in 2015 for Season 2 and in 2016 for Season 3.
Also in 2013, Marah starred in the Mzansi Magic miniseries Life Father Like Son, which was developed as part of the Lokshin Bioskop Series strand. The series tells the story of a pastor's son, Themba, who is handed the reigns of his father's church when the elderly reverend dies, and has to balance his newfound responsibilities with his past reputation as a hard-partying, wild living playboy.
In 2015 she landed the starring role of Ma Mgcina, Boss's doting mother who lives in Soweto, in the eKasi+ / e.tv sitcom B&B.
In 2016 she began starring in the Mzansi Magic telenovela The Queen.