South Africa: Gone but Not Forgotten - a Love Letter to Brenda

Angus Taylor's life-size bronze sculpture of Brenda Fassie outside Bassline, a music venue in Johannesburg.

Brenda Fassie still has us in her thrall but we will never know her. Ten years after her untimely death in 2004, the Queen of African Pop, widely considered the most controversial diva of all, continues to perplex and evade her fans. It is fitting that Bongani Madondo, the editor of 'I'm not your Weekend Special', bills this collection of essays as "a love letter to Brenda". The collection seeks to remember and to record her presence, as she cannot be defined.

Listening to MaBrrr's music is always stirring; it is here that we will find all we need to know, if not all we want to know. Although it's unlikely we'll come closer to understanding the simultaneous urge to creativity and the destruction that devastated the woman Time Magazine dubbed the Madonna of the Townships, this collection provides insights.

Hugh Masekela, in his foreword, describes his own evolving responses to Fassie. First meeting her in Zimbabwe in April 1982, after she had already recorded her hit, 'Weekend Special', Masekela was impressed by her attitude; which he perceived as morose, arrogant and dismissive. He wondered, "How the hell would she make it in the entertainment world with...

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