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Ms Yvonne “Chaka Chaka” Mhinga

The Order of Ikhamanga in

Ms Yvonne “Chaka Chaka” Mhinga Awarded for:
Her excellent contribution to the field of music and her general contribution to social cohesion. Her melodic voice reverberated and found resonance in many parts of our continent and the world.
Ms Yvonne “Chaka Chaka” Mhinga was born in Dobsonville, Soweto, in 1965. After completing her elementary and high schooling in Soweto, she studied Adult Education and Local Government Management at the University of South Africa (UNISA) and completed her Business Management with South African Institute for Management at UNISA. In 1997 she completed a Diploma in Speech and Drama at the Trinity College in London.

Her career as a singer and performing artist started in 1984. She was discovered by Phil Hollis of Dephon Records in 1985 when she was just 19 years old. She first burst into the music scene with the album, I’m in love with the DJ, featuring The Stones.

Following the immense success of her first album, she released the equally successful second album, Thank you Mr DJ, in 1986 and in 1987 she released I’m Burning Up. Some of Mhinga’s best known albums include Motherland; Cry for Freedom; Umqombothi; Sangoma; Bombani; Power of Africa; Kwenzenjani and Amazing Man, the latter album dedicated to former President Nelson Mandela and other African leaders.

She has since released a few more albums, compilations and best-of albums in her 30 years in the music industry. Her latest album autobiography, Keep Looking At Me, was released in April 2018.

Her albums went ‘Platinum’ at the beginning of her career in the early to mid-80s, and she received several South African Music Awards and Kora Awards. Her music started gaining ground and popularity in West Africa, spreading across Africa from the early 1990s.

She was one of the few black South African female artists then to break through the music industry market outside the country and gained great popularity, and later earned herself the appellation of “The Princess of Africa”.

Mhinga is a word-class performer defined by originality, creativity and consummate showmanship. Music has taken her to different parts of Africa and all over the world as the demand for her music intensified.

She became a Goodwill Ambassador for the United Nations Children’s Fund and Roll Back Malaria Partnership to End Malaria, the largest global platform for coordinated action towards a world free from malaria.

In 2006, she started her foundation called Princess of Africa (a name she received after a 1990 tour in Uganda), which focuses on championing the change in health and education for communities across Africa and South America.

In 2016, Mhinga initiated the annual Backing Vocalists and Session Musicians Awards to acknowledge and honour vocalists and back-up artists for their dedication, relentless efforts and passion in the music industry.