Early life and career
Born is a small town, he was a son of a truck driver with a modest income. He received his first guitar as a Christmas gift at a party for disadvantaged people and this was the launching pad for his professional career. After independence in 1975, Stewart started as a dancer for some music bands. When the death of his eldest sister, who had left two children and a house in Maputo behind her, drove him to the capital of Mozambique, in 1977, he learned to play percussion, the guitar and keyboard and started singing in a band in 1982.
In 1983 he recorded a song for the national radio station – Radio Moçambique – and in the same year he was awarded with the national prize for the best up-coming artist. His songs became soon played on the radio, and he became the 'singer of the people'. He eventually worked with the band Orchestra Marrabenta Star. Later he moved to South Africa where he released his album Afrikiti in 1995.
Besides Orquestra Marrabenta Star he was part of several projects and bands among them, Alambique as a vocal/percussionist, Mbila as a vocalist and Formação 82 as a vocal/percussionist.
In 1998, Sukuma moved to Boston, Massachusetts where he attended Berklee College of Music being the first Mozambican to attend that institution. The Africa Scholars Program said "Berklee has recruited a team of world-renowned artists and music professionals to advise and to get the word out about this program. The board members are: Mulatu Astake, Richard Bona, Darius Brubeck, Angelique Kidjo, Bakithi Kumalo, Lionel Loueke, Leni Stern, Stewart Sukuma, and Eric Wainaina. With the help of our advisors, we aim to make this program open to as many talented musicians as possible."Template:Berklee College of Music
He performed at the Houston International Festival, and twice in Texas in 1998/9 with other African artists such as Angellique Kidjo, Abdullah Ibrahim, Oumou Sangare and Hugh Masekela. Since 2009 he has been touring Europe and Latin America extensively, performing in festivals such as the Lent Festival in Slovenia, Uferlos and the Kasumama Festival in Austria, the Festival der Kulturen in Germany and Tom de Festa and the World Music Festival in Portugal. In Brazil he has performed at the Itau Cultural and the famous Auditorio de Ibirapuera and SESC Pinheiros in São Paulo and Flimar in Maceio and in South Africa he has taken part in the Cape Town International Jazz Festival. He has performed with various and acclaimed musicians around the world such as Lee Ritenour, Ivan Linz, Ana Moura, Paulinho da Costa, Luis Represas among others.
On June 7, 1997, Billboard magazine gave him same standing as Papa Wemba and other highly acclaimed African musicians.
Sukuma combines traditional and contemporary Mozambican music and instrumentation to create energetic, danceable music with an Afro/Pop/Jazz sound. The melodies performed by Stewart Sukuma are a reflection of the varied ancestral influences of Mozambique, including the Islamic influence in the north of Mozambique, frequently visited in the past by the Arabians and the inevitable inheritance of the Portuguese spread out in the whole country. In 2010 he started a new musical project to encourage the youngsters to play and listen to Marrabenta, a popular/urban genre of Mozambican music.
Stewart Sukuma still undoubtedly one of Mozambique’s leading performers". Revolutionary and Innovative he still Combines Music with TV and Social Activities. Apart the usual activities ( shows ) he launched a music project with a fellow singer Argentina Luis, a campaign against stigma, misunderstanding and violence that the albino community has come to be exposed in Mozambique showing that "Being Different is Normal" while he hosts a Tourism and Culture TV show called Txopela Mocambique at the Portuguese Television RTP Africa. He is also a debut actor in a south african movie called "Inside TB" where he acts as himself.