Yvonne Chaka Chaka is a well-known South African singer-songwriter, humanitarian and entrepreneur. She was born as Yvonne Machaka on the 18th of March 1965 in Dobsonville, Soweto. Her early childhood seemed to be rather challenging since she was born into a family that was struck by poverty and when she was 11 years old her father passed away. Leaving her mother to raise 3 children by herself with an extremely low salary of R40 per month. Even though the odds were stacked against her, Yvonne managed to gain popularity in South Africa at a very young age. She was the first black child to appear on national television in 1981. That appearance kickstarted her stardom. A couple of years later she had her first hit with the song I’m in love with a DJ. (Yvonne Chaka Chaka)
As the years went by Yvonne grew more and more famous not just in South Africa but through the whole African continent. She gained her nickname “Princess from Africa” because of her influence throughout Africa. She used her fame and influence to rebel against the oppressive Apartheid government. Yvonne collaborated with legends of the music industry to release a song called Peace on our land. Her music was so inspirational that Nelson Mandela wrote a letter to her from Robben Island where he was detained. Through the letter sneaked to her by Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, the statesman thanked her for “singing songs that keep us alive in prison”. (Mojapelo)
She has a number of charitable organisations that she is involved with. Yvonne is a member of the Giving and Sharing Project which aims to establish a youth/schools philanthropy programme. It encourages young people in South Africa to raise funds for local needs and they can also volunteer to do charity work in their communities. Yvonne is also involved in other organisations such as raising funds for the Orlando Children’s Home in Soweto. She also runs her own charity organisation called Princess of Africa Foundation – this foundation has provided humanitarian aid across societies. For her constant help throughout South Africa and spreading awareness about Malaria, Yvonne was awarded with the International Global Good Star and Power Award at 2017 BET Awards. (Yvonne Chaka Chaka)
Yvonne’s music played a big role in my parents’ upbringing. They grew up listening to her music and since they love her music so much that means that they used to play it for me and my siblings. Just like my parents, I also fell in love with Yvonne’s music. Her songs are so different because she uses her lyrics to tell a story in a captivating way. Although her music is amazing the main reason as to why I chose write a blog about Yvonne Chaka Chaka is because of her influence and the great role model she has become for all Africans. The way she has lived her life is an example to follow as a young South African, she overcame her obstacles and became a shining light for all to follow.
Mojapelo, Max (2008). “Beyond Memory: Recording the History, Moments and Memories of South African Music”. African Minds. p. 98.
Yvonne Chaka Chaka. “About Yvonne Chaka Chaka”, http://www.yvonnechakachaka.co.za/promotions/about