Nick name, The princess of Africa
By Tolberts Joseph Sibuta
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Yvonne Chaka Chaka was born to Yvonne Machaka in 1965. She was raised in not a well to do family, having lost her father at an early age of 11. The song bird is an internationally recognized South African musician, songwriter, actress, entrepreneur, humanitarian, teacher and parent. She was named “Princess of Africa on a South African tour in 1990. Chaka Chaka has been at the helm of South African popular music for 28 years now. The song “Umqombothi” was featured in the opening scene of the 2004 movie Hotel Rwanda.
Yvonne Chaka Chaka was born on 18th March, 1965. At the time of publication of this article, Yvonne is 55 years.
Chaka Chaka went to Trinity College in London and studied speech and drama. She also went to the University of South Africa, attaining a diploma and degree.
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Chaka Chaka has four sons, Ningi Mhinga, Themba Mhinga, Mfuma Mhinga and Mandla Mhinga. Her husband is Dr Mandlalele Mhinga.
The life and career of Yvonne Chaka Chaka
Yvonne Chaka Chaka was born in Dobsonville in Soweto, South Africa. As a young girl, Chaka Chaka went through a tough childhood due to poverty. Her father died when she was 11 years old. Her mother, a domestic worker, brought up three daughters on her small 40 Rand a month salary.
Chaka Chaka started her music career at 19 years in 1984 when Phil Hollis of the then Dephon Records discovered her talent in Johannesburg. “Baptized the Princess of Africa,” Yvonne experienced a meteoric rise as a music star of infectious pop melodies and dance music at the peak of apartheid. Her début album was called “I’m in Love with a DJ’. Songs like “I’m Burning Up”, “I Cry for Freedom”, “Sangoma”,”Motherland” and the ever-popular, “Umqombothi” immediately ensured Chaka Chaka’s status as a star on South Africa’s music scene.
Sangoma was released in 1987 on the then Mercury Records. It came at a later stage however, when songs like Come a little Bit closer, private lover, Save me, Stimela and I’m gonna Stop loving you had already been hit the air waves. Releasing hit after hit, Chaka Chaka’s subsequent award-winning albums include “Burning Up”, “Sangoma”, “Who’s The Boss”, “Motherland”, ” Be Proud to be African”, “Thank You Mr DJ”, “Back on my Feet”, “Rhythm of Life”, “Who’s got the Power”, “Bombani (Tiko Rahini)”, “Power of Afrika”, “Yvonne and Friends” and “Kwenzenjani”. Throughout her illustrious career Chaka Chaka has met people like Nelson Mandela (singing at his 85th birthday party), the Queen and Oprah Winfrey and many others.
Yvonne has her own music label. She also owns a production company. Together with her husband Dr Mhinga Mandlalele, they own a limousine company in South Africa
Charity, Humanity and designations
Apart from music, Yvonne Chaka chaka serves as Ambassador for Nelson Mandela’s 46664 Campaign which raises global awareness oN HIV/AIDS. She has also been ambassador to the University of South Africa (UNISA), City of Johannesburg Tourism, and South Africa’s Mpumalanga Province Tourism.
Yvonne has taught literacy in South Africa’s townships, promoted the rights of women and works to protect children everywhere, and she is a Trustee of Tomorrow Trust, which educates orphans and vulnerable children.
Yvonne chaka chaka is also an ambassador for the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria, the United Nations MDG Envoy for Africa, and the Goodwill Ambassador for the Roll Back Malaria Partnership. Chaka Chaka is also a board member of Information Technology Companies, Human Resource Development and Sandown Motors. She became the face of First National Bank (FNB) in 2001 and in 2006; she founded her own charity called The Princess of Africa Foundation
In the year 2015 she signed an open letter which the ONE Campaign had been collecting signatures for; the letter was addressed to Angela Merkel and Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, urging them to focus on women as they serve as the head of the G7 in Germany and the AU in South Africa respectively, which will start to set the priorities in development funding before a main UN summit in September 2015 that will establish new development goals for the generation.
She is part of the Ashinaga Kenjin Tatsujin International Advisory Council which supports orphaned students across Africa to access quality tertiary education.
In 2012, Chaka chaka received the world Economic Forum’s Crystal award at the launch of her documentary film, a motherland tour, and Journey of African women, filmed over five years of travels around Africa. It took her on a world tour to promote the grassroots successes of those engaged in the battle against HIV/AIDS, TB and malaria, supported by the Global Fund. She was the first African woman to receive an award of this kind
Yvonne Chaka Chaka also served as an Honorary Colonel in the South African Air Force
On deportation from Uganda in December 2019, Celebrated South African musician and global children’s ambassador Yvonne Chaka Chaka had been scheduled to perform at the “Enkuka” a festival that marks the end of year in Uganda. However, she was whisked by police a few hours to the concert and was escorted to Entebbe international airport to board back home in South Africa. Chaka chaka added to the speculation that the deportation was on her request. She further echoed, ‘‘I can assure you. I will come back to Uganda and perform. This is my motherland, ‘Chaka Chaka.
She went on to reiterate her stance that authorities in Uganda did not deport her, presenting her boarding pass as a business class passenger on a Rwanda Airlines flight as proof.
Debate raged on social media as Uganda government officials did not explain Chaka Chaka’s ‘deportation’ to her angry fans.
‘‘I took a decision not to appear this evening at Enkuka, because there were just too many things that I could not understand or explain. If somebody had explained to me, I really would have understood.’‘ She explained. ‘‘Not deported, not arrested, not captured. Everything is fine, everything is in order. I know my people are worried, my country is worried, my husband is worried….but I am fine.’‘
Was deportation for political reasons? Some political commentators attributed the deportation to her close friendship with Bobi Wine saying the state was in panic mode had the song bird been given a chance to perform. They say she would perform her freedom songs which would quash the image of the government.
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