Yvonne Chaka Chaka

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Yvonne Chaka Chaka at the World Economic Forum annual meeting in 2012

Yvonne Chaka Chaka (born Yvonne Machaka in 1965) is a South African singer.

Dubbed the "Princess of Africa" (a name she received after a 1990 tour), Chaka Chaka has been at the forefront of South African popular music for 20 years and has been popular in Zimbabwe, Kenya, Gabon, Sierra Leone and Ivory Coast.[1] Songs like "I'm Burning Up", "thank you mister dj", "I Cry for Freedom", "Makoti", "Motherland" and the ever-popular "Umqombothi" ("African Beer") ensured Yvonne's stardom.

The song "Umqombothi" was featured in the opening scene of the 2004 movie Hotel Rwanda.


Chaka Chaka was born in Dobsonville in Soweto.[1] She became the second Black child to appear on South African television. In 1981 "Sugar Shack", a talent show, introduced her to the South African public.

Chaka Chaka started singing at 19 in 1985 when Phil Hollis of Dephon Records discovered her in Johannesburg.[1] Shortly after, her debut album "I’m in Love With a DJSongs like "I'm Burning Up", "I Cry for Freedom", "Sangoma","Motherland" and the ever-popular, "Umqombothi" immediately ensured Chaka Chaka's status as a star on South Africa's mbaqanga music scene.

Chaka Chaka had it tough growing up. Her father died when she was 11 and her mother, a domestic worker, brought up three daughters on her meagre 40 Rand a month salary.

She has two diplomas from the University of South Africa, one in adult education, another in local government, management and administration. She also studied speech and drama at Trinity College, London, qualifying in 1997.

Releasing hit after hit, Chaka Chaka's subsequent award winning albums include "Burning Up", "Sangoma", "Who’s The Boss", "Motherland", " Be Proud to be African", "Thank You Mr DJ", "Back on my Feet", "Rhythm of Life", "Who's got the Power", "Bombani ( Tiko Rahini), "Power of Afrika", "Yvonne and Friends" and "Kwenzenjani".

Chaka Chaka owns a limousine company together with her husband, Dr Mandlalele Mhinga, has her own music label and her own production company. She teaches literacy part-time at the University of South Africa, sits on several boards of charitable organisations and NGOs, and serves on the board of the Johannesburg Tourism Company.

Throughout her illustrious career Chaka Chaka has met people like Nelson Mandela (singing at his 85th birthday party), the Queen and Oprah Winfrey.

Chaka Chaka's continuing legacy as "Princess of Africa" is a testament to her connection to everyday people as well as royalty. Whether she is performing for Kings and Queens, Presidents and First Ladies or corporate concerts; she always returns to those she loves - her fans and family of listeners in South African cities, townships and rural areas.

"Mama Africa", Miriam Makeba said of her "She’s my baby!", Hugh Masekela adds that Yvonne is "my mad niece". Legends Dolly Rathebe and Dorothy Masuka describe Yvonne's music as "something that all should listen to".

When asked who she admired most, Chaka Chaka said

Then she married Tiny Mhinga[1] who is related to Mavivi Myakayaka Manzini and is the uncle to Lebohang Manzini.

She served as an Honorary Colonel in the South African Air Force.[2]

In 2015 she signed an open letter which the ONE Campaign had been collecting signatures for; the letter was addressed to Angela Merkel and Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, urging them to focus on women as they serve as the head of the G7 in Germany and the AU in South Africa respectively, which will start to set the priorities in development funding before a main UN summit in September 2015 that will establish new development goals for the generation.[3]


  • Princess of Africa: The Best of Yvonne Chaka Chaka (1999)
  • Yvonne and Friends (2000)
  • Princess of Africa, Vol. 2 (2002)
Contributing artist


  1. ^ a b c d Mojapelo, Max (2008). "Beyond Memory: Recording the History, Moments and Memories of South African Music". African Minds. p. 98. ISBN 1920299289. Retrieved May 9, 2015. 
  2. ^ "Picture Caption" (PDF). SA Soldier 18 (3): 30. March 2011. ISSN 1609-5014. Retrieved 2 February 2015. 
  3. ^ Tracy McVeigh. "Poverty is sexist: leading women sign up for global equality | Life and style". The Guardian. Retrieved 2015-05-08. 

External links[edit]