Chaka Chaka against the world at MaBrrr bash

2014-05-11 15:00

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Ah, pop stars. Never shy to make it all about themselves. On Thursday night, it was the launch of a new book on Brenda Fassie on the eve of the 10th year of her death.

Held at Gallery MOMO in Joburg, it was all rather genteel for a Fassie bash – until the pop icon’s long-time rival, Yvonne Chaka Chaka, took the mic.

The first thing she did was to round up former City Press journalists Bongani Madondo and Vukile Pokwana.?The Princess of Africa proceeded to admonish the pair and the Mail & Guardian’s Charles Molele for writing negative stories about her and Fassie back in the day.

“It was the press who made me and Brenda fight,” recalled the Umqombothi diva.

“Later you, the press, started writing us off. I hate all of you who wrote us off. Twenty-nine years later, I’m still here. Brenda is a national icon, whether you like us or not.”

Chaka Chaka proceeded to tell the packed gallery how African presidents arrive to meet her at airports and how she’s filled 70?000-seat stadiums.

“I’m 49 this year, Brenda would have been 50. We could’ve had a helluva bash,” she said.

“There was a time when I was the only one who gave her money.”

She recalled how Fassie wanted each car she had bought. “If I was a money lover, I’d have written all these books about Brenda,” said the singer. “But that’s not me, guys.”

It wasn’t just journalists she had it in for, it was also the music industry.

“Brenda was giving. Brenda was taken advantage of. Brenda needed guidance. Brenda needed love.”

Then she had a go at politicians.

“This place was supposed to be full of politicians. Where are they?”

Others asked the same question about Fassie’s son, Bongani, who didn’t attend the launch.

But Chaka Chaka did have some kind words for Queen B: “Brenda had the best body, legs to die for, smart, petite, a trendsetter. Brenda was like Madiba in her own right.”

It was Blondie Makhene who stole the show, though, singing Fassie’s Life Is Going On and proving that his voice was still perfect.?“Brenda was a plot, a conspiracy,” he said of her power to rise above apartheid.

Melvyn Matthews, who wrote Weekend Special, Fassie’s biggest hit, recalled how it was written and radio personality Shado Twala remembered shopping sprees with “MaBrrr”.

“She was a young black girl who needed to show her mettle and be acknowledged,” said Twala.

The book being launched?–?I’m Not Your Weekend Special?–?was edited by Madondo. “Brenda was punk,” he told an audience that included SA Music Award-winner Nakhane Touré. “She was a punk rocker. She gave us the feeling we could rebel, not just against life, but against apartheid.”

Welcoming the crowd, he said: “It’s the post-election parties tonight, you didn’t have to be here.

“I’m competing with the elections. Brenda would have competed with the elections.”

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