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Posts tagged "brenda fassie"
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Brenda Fassie,

Brenda Fassie - Sum Bulala.

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Brenda Fassie


The great African musical legend Brenda Fassie

Remembering Brenda Fassie Ten Years Later: Why I love ‘Weekend Special’ so much.

Swedish artist Robyn, one of my favourite performers, once said something to the effect of loving sad love songs that you could both dance to and lose yourself in. Weekend Special, one of the most iconic African pop songs of all time, is most certainly a high ranking tune in that category.

Listening to Brenda Fassie's groovy 80s breakout hit track, watching her get down in her glamourous gear, you'd hardly think this song was about a person painfully acknowledging their side-partner status in a relationship now void of any love. As a kid, I was certainly clueless as to the sentiments expressed in the song. But the one thing I could vouch for, both then and now, is the timlessness of Brenda's voice. During part of my upbringing in Nairobi, Kenya, I remember hearing Brenda's Weekend Special and Yvone Chaka Chaka’s Umqombothi and Thank You Mr. DJso often on the radio that I believed them to be released in the 90s and not the 80s.

Generations of people from all over the continent can identify with at least one of Brenda Fassie’s songs, or name a period in their lives where one of her tracks dominated the airwaves where they lived at the time.

Weekend Special was the start of Brenda Fassie’s fame, and what an amazing debut it was.

RIP Mabrr (3 November 1964 – 9 May 2004).

"I’m a shocker. I like to create controversy. It’s my trademark.” - Brenda Fassie.

Ten Years On: Remembering Brenda Fassie.

The Brenda Fassie sculpture, created by artist Angus Taylor, is a 1570-metre life-size bronze that stands outside the Bassline music venue. It was installed in March 2006 and was the first of 40 sculptures commissioned by the Sunday Times newspaper in celebration of its 100th birthday. The sculpture features Brenda sitting on a stool behind a microphone standing on the ground. The text superimposed on Fassie’s body is made up of quotes by the artist on her relationship with the media. The empty stool by her side invites passers-by to take their seat next to this music legend.

This black plaque, one of which appears at the base of each sculpture belonging to the Sunday Times heritage project, provides a brief summary of Brenda Fassie’s life. It reads: “Brenda Fassie, known as the Madonna of the townships, was one of Africa’s biggest home-grown stars, South Africa’s top-selling local artist and what her record company EMI called ‘a once-in-a-generation artist, a true idol’. But for most she was MaBrrr or simply Brenda, a phenomenon like no other. As Brenda once said while talking to fans on Umhlobo Wenene FM, ‘I will always be this way.’”

To find out more about this story go to www.sundaytimes.co.za/heritage

Ten years ago today, on May 9th, 2004, we lost the amazing queen of Afropop - the one and only Miss Brenda Fassie.

Known for hits such as ‘Weekend Special’, ‘Vuli’Ndlela’, ‘Too Late for Mama’ and ‘Black President’, the Langa-born singer rose to fame after moving to Soweto at age 16 to pursue her dreams of music and stardom. But her fame journey was far from an easy or smooth one. After blowing up with her debut 1983 single ‘Weekend Special’, Brenda Nokuzola Fassie toured with her band ‘Brenda and the Big Dudes’ to the United States, Britain, Europe, Australia and Brazil - a rarity for black South African artists during that time. However, towards the end of the decade, Brenda became a tabloid fixture for her lavish lifestyle.

Even at a time when South African politics was reaching a radical stage, Brenda’s eccentric ways, bisexuality and glamourous appearance was a little to extreme for some to handle. With all the fame, attention, fortune and even more misfortune she began to be on the receiving end on, Brenda’s personal and professional life began to spiral as she became addicted to drugs. After years of drug abuse in the early 90s, Brenda bounced back into the music industry with her 1995 comeback album Now is the Time, which she also produced. Over the next years, Fassie’s popularity would only continue to rise with the release of her Memeza album. Memeza, which featured songs such as ‘Qula’ and ‘Vuli’Ndlela’,was the best selling album of 1998 and won South African Music Awards and a Kora Award for her efforts. The next year, she released another album, the iconic Nomakanjani that reached triple platinum status within months of its release, certifying Brenda as one of the country’s greatest stars of all time.

Despite her incredible professional gains, Brenda lost her personal battle against drug addiction after she passed away from a drug overdose on May 9th, 2004. She was 39 years old.

Brenda Fassie wasn’t just an entertainer, she was a conscious singer with strong anti-apartheid message that can be heard in many of her songs.

To celebrate her memory ten years after her passing, Fassie is due to be honored with a legacy tour in South Africa. As of 2006, a life-size bronze statue of the singer and activist, by artist Angus Taylor, stands outside of Bassline in Johannesburg.

What do you love or remember most about Mabrr? Leave your memories of Brenda Fassie on our Facebook wall.

#TBT: In 1989, Brenda Fassie tied the knot with Nhlanhla Mbambo and this wedding photo made it to the cover of DRUM Magazine’s March issue that year!


A collection of some of my favourite Brenda Fassie songs:

  • Vulindlela
  • Nomakanjani
  • Weekend Special
  • Qula
  • Too Late for Mama
  • Istraight Le Ndaba
  • Black President
  • Good Black Woman


WOMEN’S MONTH MUSIC: South African singer Zahara pays tribute to the late and great Mabrrrr by singing one of Brenda Fassie’s most popular hits Vulindlela, live at carnival city.

Yoooooo! This performance is awesome! Zahara really does Brenda justice.

AUGUST: Celebrating African Women

3,619 plays
Brenda Fassie,
Black Presidant


Brenda Fassie - Too Late For Mama

RIP Mabrrr!

1,355 plays
Brenda Fassie,
Weekend Paradiso - Single



Added Azealia Banks’ 50-second “Paradiso” into its backtrack, Brenda Fassie’s “Weekend Special”. I love how this way, “Paradiso” can be enjoyable as a full song, which just happens to be a lovely 80s jam.

This is great!

RIP Mabrrr

RIP Mabrrr!


RIP Mabrrr!

7,539 plays
Brenda Fassie