# TBT > SEIF KABELELE CHIT CHAT WITH YVONE CHAKACHAKA

Yvonne Chaka Chaka's musical career and philanthropic work have earned her the title "Princess of Africa" by people around the world.  A singer for over two decades, she rose to fame during the height of apartheid with her infectious pop melodies and dance music. Since then, her music has spread across cultures as she has travelled to perform with top musicians, including Bono, Angelique Kidjo and Annie Lennox.   Yvonne Chaka Chaka's passionate commitment to mothers and children in the fight against malaria earned her the honour of serving as a United Nations Goodwill Ambassador. In her documentary film entitled The Motherland Tour....she shares grassroots stories about this cause from across the African continent.   Her philosophy is "when we are born we come with nothing and when we die, we die with nothing". Her dynamic energy and passion for life continue to inspire women and communities worldwide. With over 16 award-winning albums, a string of gold and platinum hits and a SAMA victory for Best Female Singer, Yvonne Chaka Chaka has rightfully earned her title as the Princess of Africa. She has worked with some of the best and most respected musicians and producers in the industry, such as Sello 'Chicco' Twala, Sipho ‘Hotstix’ Mabuse and Gabi Le Roux and has become a household name across Africa. Her dazzling career path has seen her perform for Nelson Mandela’s 85th birthday party and meet the likes of Queen Elizabeth II and Oprah Winfrey. Chaka Chaka was born in Dobsonville in Soweto and became the first black child to appear on South African television when in 1981 Sugar Shack, a talent show, introduced her to the South African public. She started singing at 19 in 1985 when Phil Hollis of Dephon Records discovered her in Johannesburg and shortly after, released her debut album I’m in Love With a DJ, which sold and incredible 35,000 copies. Hits such as I'm Burning Up, I Cry for Freedom, Makoti, Motherland and the ever-popular, Umqombothi immediately ensured
Chaka Chaka's status as a star on South Africa's Mbaqanga music scene. Chaka Chaka's 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 (TikoRahini), Power of Afrika, Yvonne and Friends and Kwenzenjani, all of which have been top-sellers during her illustrious career. In addition to a prosperous performance career, Chaka Chaka has two diplomas from the University of South Africa, one in Adult Education, another in Local Government, Management and Administration. She also studied Speech and Drama at Trinity College, London, qualifying in 1997. She teaches literacy part time at the University of South Africa, sits on several boards  of charitable organisations and NGOs, and serves on the board of the Johannesburg Tourism Company. She has her own music label and production company and together with her husband, Dr Mandlalele Mhinga, owns a limousine company.

 Seif Kabelele: What is your favorite South African song ever
My favorite songs are Nkalakatha (Mandoza) and Unqombothi (Yvonne  Chaka Chaka). I'm crazy about our National Anthem and like "Hie kommie bokke" too.
Seif Kabelele: What made you realize that music was your path?
Ever since I was young,I was drawn to it.I could sit for hours and listen to   music,especially the heartfelt songs that told stories; singer songwriters and musical theater. When I was born in 1965 in Soweto, it was during apartheid, and those were extremely difficult times. When I was little I would strum an empty tin and blow into a broomstick pretending it was a microphone. I sang in church choirs. I loved singing. My father was a great musician who could never realise his dream. He died when I was 11 years old. I inherited my talent from both parents, so music is in my blood. I am blessed that I achieved what my father had not been able to accomplish.

Seif Kabelele: How would you describe the music that you typically create?
I’m a storyteller and my music cuts across many genres.Melodic and lyric-intensive.Every song is a story or a poem told through music


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