The Herald (Harare)

Zimbabwe: Ammara's Life After Andy

Zimbabwe's Afro-fusion singer Ammara Brown sees it happening more and more: women falling in love with so-called 'sugar daddies'. These are men who ... ( Resource: My Song: Ammara Brown on ‘More Sugar Daddy’

HER life took a turn after her father, music legend Andy Brown, passed on in March last year. In a split second Ammara Brown found herself in the spotlight with the mammoth task of continuing her father's legacy.

Although she puts on this vivacious and strong persona on stage, there is more to her than meets the eye. Behind Ammara the fearless young woman lies a vulnerable child who misses her parents badly.

Many may not be aware of it but last year she did not only lose her father. Her mother, who was her role model and best friend, had died two months earlier.

It seems it never rains but pours for the young diva because during that time she was coming around the reality of a failed relationship that left her a single mother at the age of 22. For a moment, she thought her parents would be disappointed but they stood by her the whole time.

"No parent wants to be called by their daughter and be told that she is pregnant when she is not married, but my parents accepted me and took care of me and I loved them for that," she said.

Born Ammara Nury Brown, the 24-year-old has had her share of ups and downs. Her life has been complicated from the onset with her father's highly publicised split from her mother Soraya Khan when she was 11 years old.

While she insisted that it was for the best, it was evident that her unorthodox childhood has made her one tough cookie.

"My parents split after 10 years of marriage but they managed to stay good friends. Looking back to those days, I now feel it was better that way. Many might say I came from a broken home but it actually worked for me because even though we were not together my family was happy and supportive of each other. I do not believe that it is right to be together when you do not love each other simply because you have children. Who are you doing a favour if you are raising the children in a loveless and deteriorating marriage?" she said.

Ammara moved with her mother to the United States after the divorce but she followed her heart to Zimbabwe after four years. Like most people who have made the trek into foreign lands, she swears that the lifestyle overseas is overrated.

"A lot of Africans can testify that home is best and if it was not for the economic reasons many would not want to stay so far away from home. There is so much that happens overseas and I shall not say more," she said.

In the midst of it all Ammara finds comfort in her music. In preserving her father's legacy she has also successfully introduced Ammara to the world. She is her own person and not just riding on her father's name.

"I have been doing music my whole life. My father broke down in tears when I completed my fist demo at the age of 13. He and my mother were very supportive of me and in 2003 they let me join The Storm as a backing vocalist."

To this day her life revolves around music. It has been like that for some time such that she said she finds it difficult to get involved with a person.

"It is unfortunate that I could not work things out with my son's father who I was in a relationship with for a very long time. In spite of it all, I still believe in love and hope to settle down one day. But it is difficult to find a man who can handle a person like me.

"Not a lot of guys are ready to cope with a woman who spends mornings in meetings, rehearsals in the afternoon and gigs the whole night," she said.

Still on love and relationships Ammara opened up that she is comfortable by herself and being a single mother does not bother her at all.

"My parents' death taught me that life is too short to spend in misery. I have a 17-month-old son Khaneel who I love to bits. Coming home to him every night is more than a blessing to me. I am more appreciative of him because he is a ray of hope in my life. I am not bothered about not having a husband or my unusual family because what I have works for me.

"I do not want to be in a relationship with someone who is possessive and wants to control me.

"I am aware of the misconception that female musicians are promiscuous but that is not the case at all. All we will be doing is doing our job," she said.

She is thankful of her 11 siblings who she said she gets along with despite having different mothers. Among them her former stepmother and music partner Chiwoniso Maraire's daughters Chengeto and Chiedza. She revealed that her relationship with Chiwoniso has strengthened so much that she was there for her even when she breaks down over missing her father because when it is her turn to break down, Chiwoniso is there for her too.

Life has been tough but she is tougher. She has learnt to take in everything that life throws at her; she sucks it up, gets into her heels and lets it all out on stage. That is the story of Ammara.

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InFocus

Zimbabwean Singer Steps Out of Father's Shadow

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Pop star Ammara Brown is keeping Andy Brown's memory alive by performing his most popular tracks while also developing her own sound and building her own fan base. Read more »