Rebecca Malope is a South African gospel artist and media personality, best known as The African Queen of Gospel. With her music career spanning over three decades and counting, the multi-award-winning singer has released over 30 albums. She has garnered fame, not just locally but also internationally. Her albums have sold over 10 million worldwide, thus making her one of the biggest selling gospel artists of all time. Malope is also popular for her live performances, which are usually done alongside her band ‘Pure Magic’.
While her popularity has continued to increase, it might interest you to know that the Rebecca Malope, has also won multiple awards. Learn more about Rebecca Malope below, including the details of her biography and other interesting facts.
Rebecca Malope’s Biography
She was born Batsogile Lovederia Malope on June 30, 1968, and her birth took place in the Lekazi neighborhood, near Nelspruit, Mpumalanga in South Africa. She never had a relationship with her father while her mother died some years ago as a result of an undisclosed illness. When she was very young, Malope suffered an illness which led her to be confined to a wheelchair, as doctors believed she won’t be able to walk on her own. Interestingly, Rebecca defied all odd as she later got back on her feet again.
She grew up along with her sister whose name is Cynthia. The two sisters joined the local church choir when they were very young. However, in her teenage years, Rebecca joined a gospel group that eventually took her to Johannesburg. There, she was brought to the attention of Zizwe Zakho, a well-known music producer.
Information on the singer’s education background is currently unavailable. Nevertheless, she was awarded an honorary doctorate from the University of Natal and University of California for her unparalleled contribution to the music industry.
Her Music Career and Rise to Fame
Rebecca Malope began her career journey in 1984 when she hiked to Evaton and finally got to Johannesburg along with her sister. At the time, she was 18 years old and in 1985, she competed and lost out in Shell Road to Fame competition with her band. Three years later, she tried again but this time as a solo artist, winning the female vocalist with her song Shine On.
Following the small-scale success, Rebecca was given a recording contract by MFM. This paved way for the release of her debut album Rebecca, which came out with pop songs and one gospel song titled Sthembile Kuwe. The singer would later release two albums – Thank you very much and Woza Lovey in 1989. Both albums reached the platinum status as they were well received by music critics.
In the year 1990, the iconic singer dropped a track titled Buyani in honor of Nelson Mandela, who was also granted freedom in the same year. Like her previous albums, Buyani gained double-platinum certification and also helped her in winning the Best Female Vocalist award at the OKTV Awards. Her final pop album Saturday Nite came out in 1991, with three gospel songs. It was followed by another superb album titled Rebecca Sings Gospel which sold over one million copies and would later become the best gospel album in history.
Following the success of the album, Ngiyekeleni and Umoya Wam was released; thus pushing her to the top in the South African music industry. Some of her other notable albums include Uzube Nam (1996), Somlandela (1998), Christmas with Rebecca and Friends (2000). Others include Hlala Nami (2003), Umthombo (2006), My Hero (2009), and Bayos’ khomba (2013). Over the course of her career, Rebecca has released 35 albums with AmaVIP (released in 2014) being the latest.
Rebecca Malope Awards and Recognition
- 1987 – Shell Road To Fame Best Female Vocalist
- 1990 – OKTV Awards Best Female Artist
- 1993 & 1994 – Coca-Cola Full Blust music show (Best Established Local Artist)
- 1995 – South African Music Awards (Best Contemporary Gospel Album)
- 1997 – South African Music Awards (Best Female Artist & Best Selling Album)
- 1998 – South African Music Awards (Best African Gospel Album, Best Selling African Release Album & Best Selling Album by South African)
- 1999 – South African Music Awards (Best African Gospel)
- 2000 – Metro FM Music Award (Best Gospel Album)
- 2001 – South African Music Awards (Best African Gospel Album)
- 2002 – South African Music Awards (Best African Gospel Album) & Metro FM Music Awards (Best Gospel Album)
- 2003 – South African Music Awards (Best African Gospel Album) & Kora Awards (Best Female African Gospel Artist)
- 2004 – South African Music Awards (Best African Gospel Album)
- 2005 – Metro FM Music Awards (Best Gospel Album)
- 2006 – South African Music Awards (Best African/Traditional Gospel Album)
- 2007 – South African Music Awards (Best African Contemporary Gospel Album)
- 2008 – SABC Crown Gospel Music Awards (Best Artist)
- 2009 – South African Music Awards (Bets African Traditional Gospel Album)
- 2014 – South African Music Awards (Best Traditional Faith Music Album)
- 2015 – SABC Crown Gospel Music Awards (Classic of All Time)
Rebecca Malope’s Family & Husband
Rebecca is happily married to her heartthrob Themba Tshabalala. Her husband is a manager at an import and export company, Krone. Ever since their marriage took place, the couple has managed to keep their personal life under wraps and out of public eyes.
Despite being told by her doctor that she couldn’t bear children, Rebecca got pregnant in 2004. Nevertheless, she lost her baby through a miscarriage. She eventually adopted her late sister’s three children; bringing them up with love and care as her own.
Other Interesting Facts To Know About Her
1. The iconic singer’s hit song, Shine On, was dedicated to political unrest during the Apartheid era in South Africa.
2. Prior to Rebecca’s rise to prominence, some of the notable female artists in the industry were Yvonne Chaka Chaka, Brenda Fassie, and Mercy Phakela.
3. In 2003, the singer won a KORA All African Music Award for Best Gospel Singer.
4. In 2017, she was honored with the South African Music Awards Life Time Achievement Award for her impact on the music industry.
5. Besides singing, Rebecca Malope also serves as the host of the gospel music show ‘It’s Gospel Time’.
6. In 2012, she was also announced as one of the three judges for Clash of the Choirs South Africa, a Mzansi Magic reality singing competition.