Who is Brenda Fassie?
Brenda Nokuzola Fassie (3 November 1964 – 9 May 2004) was a South African singer, songwriter, dancer and activist. Affectionately called MaBrrr by her fans, she is also known as the “Queen of African Pop”, the “Madonna of The Townships” or simply as The Black Madonna.
Brenda Fassie was born in Langa, Cape Town on 3 November 1964, the youngest of nine children. She was named after the American singer Brenda Lee. Her father died when she was only two years old; with the help of her mother, a pianist, she soon started earning money by singing for tourists.
When she was 16 years old in 1981, she received a visit from Hendrick “Koloi” Lebona, who encouraged her to pursue a career in music. As a result, she left Cape Town for Soweto, Johannesburg, to seek her fortune as a singer. Fassie first joined the vocal group Joy, and later became the lead singer for a township music group called Brenda and the Big Dudes. She had a son, Bongani, in 1985 by a fellow Big Dudes musician.
She was 39 when she died.
Brenda married to Nhlanhla Mbambo in 1989, but the pair divorced in 1991. Around this time, she became addicted to cocaine, which had a negative impact on her career.
Cause of Death, Obituary
Brenda Fassie collapsed at her home in Buccleuch, Gauteng on the morning of 26 April 2004. She was initially reported to have suffered cardiac arrest, but it was later revealed that she had taken an overdose of cocaine on the night of her collapse. This caused her to lapse into a coma and stop breathing, resulting in brain damage from lack of oxygen.
Fassie was visited in the hospital by Nelson Mandela, Winnie Mandela, and Thabo Mbeki. Her condition was front-page news in South African papers, and she died aged 39 on 9 May 2004 without regaining consciousness. The post-mortem report showed that she was HIV-positive, although her manager denied this aspect of the report. Her family and long-term partner were at her side when she died.
Brenda Fassie’s net worth was estimated to be around $2 million at the time of her death. Her wealth came from her music career, as well as from endorsement deals and other business ventures.
Brenda Fassie’s career began in the early 1980s, when she joined the group Brenda and the Big Dudes. The group released a number of successful albums, and Fassie quickly became a star.
In the late 1980s, Fassie embarked on a solo career. Her solo albums were even more successful than her work with Brenda and the Big Dudes, and she became one of the most popular singers in South Africa.
Fassie’s music was often controversial, but it was also very popular. She was a vocal critic of apartheid, and her songs often dealt with social and political issues.
Fassie’s career went through a difficult period in the 1990s due to her drug addiction. However, she made a comeback in the late 1990s, and released a number of successful albums.
Brenda Fassie’s death in 2004 was a major loss to South African music. She was one of the most influential singers in the country’s history, and her music continues to be popular today.
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