Today’s musical selection is pure nostalgia for me….I love this woman and in particular this song, Vulindlela. This is one of my happy songs, no matter what is happening around me, as soon as I hear this song, it uplifts me and makes me want to dance 🙂
Brenda Fassie was a shining star whose light burnt too brightly and too quickly, I think. She was a diminutive woman with a larger-than-life personality. She started singing as a young girl, but found success as a teenage star recording first with a band (Brenda and the Dudes) and later solo. In her short 39 years on earth, she managed to do a lot to shock the status quo – she shot a music video bare-chested, she had highly publicized affairs with both men and women; spent her money like it was never going to run out; had a child and then had her marriage annulled; but worst of all was her addiction to cocaine that she was unable to overcome. In 1995, she was found in a drug haze in a dingy hotel next to the dead body of her girlfriend. That event was said to have blasted her out of the mess she had made of her life and she went to rehab and sobered up. Her next album, Memeza, released in 1998 went on to become the best-selling album of the year in South Africa. It included the pan-African hit single, Vulindlela and established Brenda as an Afro-Pop Star. In May 2004, Brenda died following a severe asthma attack that triggered a heart attack and led to her hospitalization. In true pop-style, even the cause of her death became controversial with rumors circulating that the asthma attack had been tried by a drug overdose and also that she had been HIV positive at the time of her death (her family died the HIV rumor).
More than all of the above however, she had a powerhouse voice and recorded several hits including Vulindlela, Black President (for Mandela), Nomakanjani?, the super haunting Too Late for Mama and big gospel hit Soon and Very Soon. She was an early champion of gay rights and sang against apartheid-era oppression in South Africa.
You can read more about her in this obituary written in the British Guardian newspaper when she died.
What is your favorite Brenda Fassie song?