South Africa and fans all over the world took a few minutes to remember the life and legacy of South African music queen Brenda Fassie as a commemoration of the 12th anniversary of her death.
It was a big loss for all music lovers on the 9th day of May 2004 as the Queen of African Pop was pronounced dead at the Sunninghill Hospital in Johannesburg when she was just 39.
She had been in a coma since April 26, and later gave up the ghost when her life support machine was turned off.
The music legend had unavoidably slipped into a coma which lasted for weeks and as a post-mortem later revealed, she had overdosed on cocaine which took her through an asthma attack leading to a cardio-respiratory arrest and subsequent brain damage.
During her stay in the hospital, Brenda was visited by dignitaries like former President Nelson Mandela, former President Thabo Mbeki and Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma who was the foreign minister.
Today, fans lit up the social media with messages of love and loss.
Brenda Fassie – Legends Live On
Brenda Nokuzola Fassie was born in 1964 in Langa a town near Cape Town to a pianist. She was named after the American singer Brenda Lee. Being the daughter of a pianist, Brenda started singing at a very young age to her mother’s accompaniment.
At the very tender age of five, tourists were paying to hear her sing as she already had her own band – the Tiny Tots.
After a visit from renowned producer Koloi Lebona, Brenda went to live with Lebona’s family in Soweto, where she was supposed to finish school before kickstarting a music career. But her star shined when one of the singers of the singing trio Joy went on maternity leave and Brenda had to fill in for her.
She later formed her own popular group, Brenda and the Big Dudes. Where she made her first recording in 1983 with the hit single “Weekend Special”, which became the fastest-selling record at the time. Brenda and the Big Dudes toured to the United States, Britain, Europe, Australia and Brazil.
In the late 1980s she began working with producer Sello “Chicco” Twala, and through the partnership, produced the album Too Late for Mama.
In 1989 she married Nhlanhla Mlambo, and the next year they were both sued for fraud. By August of 1990 the dailies announced the break-up of their marriage.
Her drug and alcohol abuse as well as her bisexuality also received a lot of media attention as her drug habits almost ruined her music career until she went to a drug rehabilitation centre in 1995.
During her career which lasted two decades, Brenda Fassie enjoyed a string of hits and multi-platinum selling releases with some national and foreign singers. Some of her best-known protest songs include “Black President” and “Good Black Woman”