This is proof of her international popularity. During the last few years of her life she regularly toured the African continent as well as America. Three years later, Brenda was dead of cardiac arrest. New evidence came to light that stated her death was precipitated by smoking crack cocaine laced with rat poision.
What is the story of this lesbian who was once married and at the time of her death, left behind a nineteen year old son? It is a sad and triumphant life filled with poverty and a talent that made her one of South Africa’s most beloved singers.
She was born Brenda Nokuzola Fassie in Langa, South Africa in 1964 into a musical family. Her father was a pianist and at the age of five she began singing with her mother. She was named Brenda after Brenda Lee the iconic American singer. At 16 years she was discovered and promoted as a “voice of the future.” She formed her own group called Brenda and the Big Dudes.
Success came in 1983 with a hit single “Weekend Special” which became the fastest selling record of that year. Brenda and her group toured United States, Britain, Europe, Australia and Brazil. She married in 1989 age 25 but was divorced the next year. Already there were rumours about her bi-sexuality and drug and alcohol abuse.
The legend received numerous South African Music Awards. In 1999, she received the Kora award for the best female artist.
My own comments:
I have never visited South Africa but it is a place that is on my bucket-list. I do know, that many gays and lesbians have found it extremely hard to ‘come out’. I have no way of knowing if this was the case for Brenda Fassie. I do know from what I have read that she discovered a lesbian lover dead from an overdose in a hotel in which both were staying. It must have been hard to balance a career back then when South Africa did not have a constitution that guaranteed freedom for all.
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