The Motherland Tour Concert, Sun City Superbowl

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06 Mar 2010

His Excellency, Ambassador R. Baefuss,
Ministers of Health from Lesotho and Swaziland,
Former Ambassadors Lindiwe Mabuza and Thandi Lujabe,
Member of Parliament Mrs Winnie Madikizela-Mandela and Zindzi Mandela,
National First Ladies and International First Ladies here present,
Representatives from National and International Agencies her present,
Representatives of Vestergaard Frandsen,
Distinguished Guests
Ladies and Gentlemen:

Tonight we celebrate the achievements of one of South Africa’s great women artists, a singer of international acclaim and dearly loved in this country, a woman who has made her mark in the music business and who through her songs has given us an identity and strong sense of cultural pride.

Tonight we are here to celebrate the 25 years that our sister - and indeed the Princess of Africa - has given to the music industry and has contributed to the building of our people’s culture.

We know how hard it must have been to begin a career in the years of apartheid, where even to sing could be seen as committing a crime, where to be creative could be considered to be a waste of time in a world in which black people were not allowed to perform certain forms of work and to follow creative pursuits.

So it is a testimony to her strength that Yvonne Chaka Chaka has survived the test of time of tribulations – we remember the young girl who appeared on television in 1981.

We remember her growing up and growing from strength to strength as she gained in confidence and ability, developed skills and entered the world stage.

She was not afraid and her passion inspired all of us to be passionate about music and passionate about our lives.

For us as a South African people, music is our heartbeat.

We sing hymns and we sing praise-songs. We sing at weddings and at funerals.

We sang freedom songs during the struggle and we sing songs now in freedom that help to give direction to the future. Music helps us to remember our past, the good times and the bad, the smiles of joy and the tears of sadness.

Music becomes part of our memories and the music of Yvonne Chaka Chaka helps to preserve different times in our lives and to transmit these moments into the present and the future.

Through her music we have spoken not only to ourselves, but to the world since she has graced platforms all over the globe with her presence.

In so doing, she has fostered relations between us and our fellow brothers and sisters on other parts of the African continent. She has also forged sound working relations with artists in the African Diaspora.

We are proud to have produced artists of her calibre and also proud that she is a good role model for young up and coming artists. Her progress on all fronts has resulted in her success not only as a singer of note but also as a successful businesswoman.

As we pay tribute to Yvonne today, let us thank her for her contribution in the last 25 years and let us convey to her that we expect her to continue for more than another 25.

Let us thank her family for understanding the importance of her music to each and every one of us. We understand their sacrifices and we are glad that they are willing to share her with us.

Through her work we see the way in which the arts are part of what defines us.

Through her work we witness how art can help us progress as humanity as a whole. Through her work we become aware of the importance of arts in the community.

Let me take this opportunity to wish our dear sister continued success in all her endeavours.

I am sure we are in for an evening of great music and an uplifting experience.

Thank you.