‘I am looking at an icon’ I thought and a sinking feeling came upon me that she is a great person. One can take lightly the feat she has achieved. Until you can look her in the eye and see the intensity in her face when she sings and hear her piercing voice through the speakers, you will not be able to fathom the greatness she possesses. I grew up hearing the sound of her voice and it became a second language to me. It was song after song that she sang and memories came flushing back like a tsunami. The Sunday mornings that my mother woke me up and we prepared for church, the aroma of the Sunday lunch stew. I began to realize she has been one of the constants in my entire life. She has made the Lord her pillar. She has sung for the Lord all her adult life. She has performed like a twenty-year-old all her life. She has lived all her life through the microphone she is holding now.
I think back at a conversation that I once had with a friend. We both agreed that every gospel award in South Africa is won by Rebecca and these competitions are rigged. She wins each time there is a gospel award in this country and she basically does not deserve it. As she sang each memorable song and each verse bringing back unforgettable memories, it dawned on me that she deserved each award she received. Every song she sung created a new and fresh look at the way I thought of her. Her memorable voice was now fused with this new look at the way she has given her life to the performance of gospel and the Lord.
This new found realization of the icon in-front of me also came with a free spirit in me. To live and be an icon is not and will not be easy. To wake up every day and stand for the great Lord, and sing for the great Lord was not and is not an easy thing to do. It hit me like a brick wall, that to be an icon is not and will not be easy to achieve. To matter in life and to make a difference in the lives of the people you live around you have to persevere. You have to have a belief system that will stand the test of time. You have to have a heart that is pure. You must not be shaken by the storms that you encounter in your life. There are very few people that will and can walk the journey she has walked through her life. She is truly a great South African.
She gave an intimate performance to a small crowd at the iconic Market Theatre in Newtown Johannesburg. She interacted with the crowd and motivated the crowd with every song. She created a living memory in all of the minds of the dedicated supporters that were there dancing their butts off. It was truly memorable to be in that theatre on that day.
Dr Rebecca Malope you have made memories for many people and will forever be the true gospel icon that many people in South Africa including myself respect.