Brenda Fassie
Brenda Fassie

Brenda Fassie

About Brenda Fassie

Named for American pop singer Brenda Lee, South African vocalist Brenda Fassie (born 1964) seemed preordained for stardom, performing as a child in Cape Town before attracting the attention of influential producer Koloi Lebona when she was 16. Following that meeting, she moved to Johannesburg and began her rapid ascent, first fronting a group called The Big Dudes and then going solo with a slick pop sound and political views that led to the sobriquet “Madonna of the Townships.” She openly challenged the apartheid regime, infusing her bubblegum pop with material like “Black President”, a celebration of Nelson Mandela in the days before his release from prison. In the late '90s, she more prominently incorporated Zulu Jive and other local sounds into her music. The powerful clarity of her soulful voice kept the hits coming until her death at the age of 39.

  • HOMETOWN
    Langa, Cape Town, South Africa
  • BORN
    1964

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