Every South African (or so I hope), has a favourite Brenda Fassie song. Mine is Higher and Higher which she did with the Big Dudes before I was even born! That speaks volumes of the work that this diva extraordinaire has done and the legacy she has left behind.
One of a kind! Many said that Brenda was the “Madonna of the townships” but for me she was more than that. She was our own Michael Jackson. Brenda was THE QUEEN! Many tried to be like her and many have been accused of trying to be her yet none of them has the energy that she had on stage. Lebo Mathosa came very close, but she was just not Brenda.
Style icon! Whatever outfit MaBrrr was rocking, it was sure to be a trend. My mom recalls wanting a pair of shorts she saw Brenda wearing in a picture in the 80s. The desire for these short shorts spread like wildfire and it became a trend. Then Brenda went on to rock a blonde hairstyle. Best believe, this too became a trend.
I’m boss-attitude! The media loved Brenda. Every controversial thing Brenda did landed in tabloids. In interviews she was dominant. My mom says back in the early days of Selimathunzi you could see the excitement and terror on Dosto’s face whenever he had to interview MaBrrr.
Khamisa utyhale! Loosely translated, this phrase means open your mouth and push (speak). Its usually used for someone who says what is on their mind and is unapologetic about it. That was Brenda. I remember one SAMA Award broadcasts where Brenda Fassie was so pissed that she didn’t win the SAMA for Record of the Year. She let everyone know that she was not at all satisfied with the winner! (I cant remember who the winner was, I was too young)
Global icon! Which other SA musician has had a 3 page spread in world renowned Time magazine or a hit on the Billboard hot Black Singles Chart in the US for a full 8 weeks??? Only MaBrrr…
Controversial! So it turns out that Janet Jackson was not the first singer to have her boob pop out while on stage. While performing in the USA Brenda’s breast popped out. Her reaction: She grabbed it and said “This is Africa!”. Her promoter asked her not to do it again. Tltltltltltltl…
Brenda your soul lives on. Happy 47th birthday. Lala ngoxolo Madlomo… Gone but not forgotten. We could never forget even if we tried!
Thanks to Nothende (recording artist) for the following tweet that helped me write this post:
@nothende: “She had an energy and presence that was undeniable. She raised the bar on so many levels for performing arts. Unashamed and GIFTED!”