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Yvonne Chaka Chaka – Beyond the music

We can never talk about legendary musicians, trailblazing stars and memorable musicians without mentioning Yvonne Chaka Chaka. The South African singer-songwriter has been a fierce and prominent feature on the African music scene, churning out hit after hit for at least three decades. 

Over the years, she’s gone from being a singer and branched out to becoming an entrepreneur, humanitarian and activist.

She’s known for hit songs like ‘Umqombothi’, ‘Thank you Mr DJ’ and ‘Let Him Go’, which are songs that the Namibian crowd at the recent Windhoek Jazz Festival got down to.

This was not the first time that the music legend has been to Namibia – in fact, she has even recorded a song with children from Walvis Bay’s Sunshine Children’s Centre. The song came after a 2016 pledge by the singer towards the enhanced protection of children’s rights in Namibia.

“I recorded it two years ago with a guy called Dollar, he’s Namibian, and we recorded the song in Swakopmund and we flew Dollar to come to South Africa and I worked with the Sunshine Home Children, these are children who are dyslexic but they could just sing so beautifully,” she said.

Giving some insight on how musicians can still stay relevant in such a very competitive industry, she said; “Music is quite competitive, but I think the whole creative industry is, because you could be a great painter today and people will forget you, but if you stay true to yourself and be what you always wanted to be, you always reinvent yourself, you will remain relevant.”

While she’s made it big and has accumulated many accolades over the years, Yvonne comes from humble beginnings. “I grew up quite poor. My mother worked as a domestic worker but one thing that she gave us, was education. She taught us to never depend on anybody, and I always remember those words,” Yvonne recalled fondly. 

While she initially enrolled to go and study law to please her mother, Yvonne was more interested in becoming a chartered accountant. But as the stars aligned, she ended up in the music industry.

She’s a firm believer in hard work and passion and shared these wise words for youngsters who may find themselves without direction; “Never sit there and feel sorry for yourself, knock on every door and when the doors are shut kick the door open.”

Her Princess of Africa Foundation is rooted in these same principles and advocates for the African girl child to have access to education, health and sanitation which Yvonne highlights as the main barriers to the development of women. 

Listen to her recent exclusive 99FM interview here: