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Yvonne Chaka Chaka goes down memory lane as she celebrates 30 years in showbiz

By Faeza
27 January 2017

Yvonne Chaka Chaka, dubbed the

Princess of Africa, has been mesmerising

audiences across the world with her

music. However, this Soweto-born star

is still not dazzled by fame after more

than three decades in showbiz.

BEING A TOMBOY

This world-renowned star grew up in the township.

The last born of three girls, Yvonne admits she was

a handful when she was growing up. She says she

was the toughest one amongst her sisters and she

felt the need to protect them. But the

biggest protector in her family was

her mother.

“I was a tomboy and would fight

with boys. I only had a few female

friends and I was naughty,” she says.

This is quite a surprise considering

that the songstress is always

dressed up in chic African-print

dresses and wearing perfect

make-up.

HER RISE TO FAME

She had accompanied someone to an audition at

a recording company when music producer, Phil

Hollis, invited her to audition as well.

She sang for a group of people in the boardroom

and they liked the performance. “They gave me

R20 and told me to come back on Monday. I was

instructed to listen to the instrumentals of I’m In

Love With A DJ,” she recalls.

When she went back on Monday, she was asked

to sing the song and that was the beginning of her

music career.

Because there were very few big black artists

then, she thought to herself this would be a

temporary thing but the song did extremely well.

“My mother was not happy that I was getting into

showbiz even though she signed contracts for me

because I was still 19 years old,” she says.

THE BIRTH OF A PRINCESS

Many people don’t know that her surname is

actually Machaka but because Phil wanted her

name to go with the pop sound, she ended up

being Yvonne Chaka Chaka.

She also earned herself the title of “Princess

of Africa” during one of her shows in Uganda.

She had to perform in front of 5 000 people and

some were holding placards saying that she was a

princess.

“I became so emotional and cried,” she says.

She attributes her success to God. “God has been

very good to me,” she says, adding that she's also

grateful for the support she gets

from her kids and husband, Dr

Mandlalele “Tiny” Mhinga.

“Tiny has always been my

pillar of strength. We complete

each other,” she says.

Even with that support, she

says being a parent is not easy.

“There’s just no recipe for it.

Being a mom is not easy but it’s

worth it,” she admits.