PJ Powers

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Penelope Jane Dunlop
Also known as PJ Powers, Thandeka
Born (1960-07-16) 16 July 1960 (age 57)
Durban, KwaZulu-Natal
Occupation(s) Musician
Website www.pjpowers.co.za

Penelope Jane Dunlop also known as PJ Powers or "Thandeka" (born 16 July 1960) is a South African musician, who has recorded 15 albums and is well known for her UK chart hit "World In Union" (with Ladysmith Black Mambazo) in 1995.

Early life and career[edit]

Penelope Jane was born in Durban, KwaZulu-Natal on 16 July 1960. [1] PJ's first musical group was an all-girl band called Pantha. About a year later she joined Jimslip which in time became the famous "Hotline". She was the lead singer for the rock band Hotline, which was formed in Johannesburg in 1980. The band changed their style to Afro-rock in 1983. Hotline disbanded in 1987, after which P.J. Powers pursued a solo career.[2]

Solo career[edit]

The year 1988 saw P.J. banned from radio and TV for a year by the apartheid government for her performance at a charity concert for war orphans in Zimbabwe, along with Miriam Makeba and Harry Belafonte. She was encouraged to continue her singing by Nelson Mandela, who sent her an encouraging letter from Victor Verster Prison in Cape Town.

In 1995, her recording of the Rugby World Cup official song featuring Ladysmith Black Mambazo, "World in Union", reached no. 47 on the UK Singles Chart,.[3] She performed the song live at the opening of the 1995 Rugby World Cup in Cape Town for a worldwide television audience.

In the '90s, her music took on a more Afro-pop focus, finding a receptive audience in the black market, who gave her the nickname, "Thandeka" — "the loved one".

Some of her biggest hits like "Feel So Strong" (a 1983 duet with Steve Kekana) she wrote herself, as well as "You're So Good to Me" (1982), "There is an Answer" (1986) and "Home to Africa" (1985). One of her biggest hits (with Hotline) was "Jabulani", which was written by Hotline's bass guitarist, George Van Dyk, who later went on to have his own band called Wozani.

P.J. has shared the stage with Eric Clapton, Joan Armatrading, Hugh Masekela, Divine Divas, Lord Richard Attenborough, Richard E. Grant, Sibongile Khumalo, Janet Suzman and other big names. P.J. sang for Queen Elizabeth of the United Kingdom, King Juan Carlos of Spain and Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands. She sang at the inauguration of President Nelson Mandela and at the 1995 Rugby World Cup. She collaborated with Vicky Sampson, Yvonne Chaka Chaka and M'du Masilela for the music video flighted at the United Nations Assembly in Washington, D.C. and in Greece. P.J. also wrote an 85th birthday song for Mandela, which she sang for him and guests including Bill Clinton and Oprah Winfrey at his party in 2003. In 2009, Powers' recording of "World In Union" was featured in the Academy Award-nominated film, Invictus. AND EVEN TODAY HER MUSIC IS STILL PLAYED ON RADIOS.

Honours and awards[edit]

  • 2000 Nelson Mandela presented Powers with a commemorative limited edition gold coin
  • Appointed a South African Tourism Ambassador
  • June 2003 the Institute for Justice and Reconciliation honoured her and singer Sibongile Khumalo with their prestigious annual award, promoting reconciliation by "singing people together"
  • September 2003 food chain Pick 'n Pay Stores nominated her as one of their "Stars of Charity" for having "made a difference in uplifting the youth of South Africa"
  • In July 2013" PJ Powers was honoured with a Living Legends award

Powers has been extensively involved with the Reach For a Dream Foundation, as well as the Hamlet Foundation. She was commissioned by the President's office to write and perform a song for the Children's Rights Commission.

In 2004 she was voted 93rd in the Top 100 Great South Africans.


  1. ^ "Penelope Jane Dunlop". South African History Online. Retrieved 30 August 2014. 
  2. ^ Mojapelo, Max (18 March 2009). Beyond Memory: Recording the History, Moments and Memories of South African Music. African Minds. pp. 125–126. ISBN 978-1-920299-28-6. Retrieved 13 June 2010. 
  3. ^ http://rock.co.za/files/uk_singles.html