It’s about stay­ing true to your­self – Yvonne

The Sunday Independent - - METRO - Yvonne Chaka Chaka LUKE FOLB luke.folb@inl.co.za Keep Look­ing at Me. Me “You and I Mat­ter Kulila, Par­don

PRINCESS of Africa Yvonne Chaka Chaka has no plans of slow­ing down and prom­ises to keep mak­ing mu­sic and ramp up her hu­man­i­tar­ian ef­forts through find­ing so­lu­tions to some of Africa’s health prob­lems.

The 53-year-old has been busy in re­cent weeks, cel­e­brat­ing her 29th wed­ding an­niver­sary with her hus­band Mand­lalele Mhinga, her ap­point­ment by the New Part­ner­ship for Africa’s De­vel­op­ment (Nepad) as a nu­tri­tion and health am­bas­sador, and the re­lease of her lat­est al­bum

“Every track is dif­fer­ent. was a song in­spired by a lit­tle child trav­el­ling from Syria and it speaks to keep­ing the doors open when new peo­ple want to come in.

was to say that every life mat­ters no mat­ter where you’re com­ing from or what you look like,” she said.

The al­bum is recog­nis­able with her pre­vi­ous works with uplift­ing lyrics and elab­o­rate pro­duc­tion, and in­cludes col­lab­o­ra­tions from both es­tab­lished and up­com­ing artists.

Chaka Chaka said her mu­sic was in­spired by the coun­tries she trav­elled to – and what she saw and felt while she was there – and her in­ter­ac­tions with peo­ple.

“The song on the al­bum, was a let­ter writ­ten to a grandma by a young man from Namibia. I went to visit a chil­dren’s home and they were singing be­cause, de­spite the dis­abil­i­ties they have, they don’t have the in­abil­ity and I recorded a song with them.”

With more than 33 years’ ex­pe­ri­ence in the in­dus­try, Chaka Chaka said mu­sic was not about evo­lu­tion but pro­vid­ing joy for peo­ple.

“It’s about want­ing to spread my wings. It’s not re­ally about rel­e­vance but more about what you do and stay­ing true to your­self. I was singing on Fri­day and so many young peo­ple were danc­ing to this old woman’s mu­sic that’s in­spir­ing for them.

“I al­ways take my craft se­ri­ously and look to peo­ple like Aretha Franklin and Quincy Jones, who have been do­ing it for years just for the pure love of the mu­sic,” she said.

Over the past 14 years, Chaka Chaka has been a UN Good­will Am­bas­sador and was ap­pointed to her role with Nepad two months ago.

“It is quite hum­bling that peo­ple are will­ing to work with me.

“We go to coun­tries that need mosquito nets and we see how these nets are be­ing used. I’m grate­ful to go to these coun­tries and see how the pro­grammes are do­ing and what so­lu­tions we can im­ple­ment,” said Chaka Chaka.

Her plans for the fu­ture in­clude con­tin­u­ing her mu­sic ca­reer and am­bas­sador work.

“My be­lief is, we are all born with noth­ing and we all leave with noth­ing. I can never change the world but I can change one per­son.

“You can’t buy life, joy or hap­pi­ness and for me it’s to go out there and do good, and we all have the abil­ity to do good.”

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