One Time

Brenda Fassie was a true original. There was nobody else like her. As producer Koloi Lebona says: "In terms of uniqueness of voice, that fresh approach to her songs, there was no one like Brenda."

"'When we recall the body of her creative work, two things stand out. The first is the gift she had - her beautiful voice. The second is her authenticity. Brenda never was and never sought to be a poor carbon copy of some imported America singer. She sang as a uniquely South African original, a Cape Town original, a 'Langa original,' said Z Pallo Jordan, Minister of Arts and Culture, paying tribute to Brenda Fassie at her funeral."

- "Brenda Fassie, South African original", This Day, May 25, 2004

"Ouke Nohe, one of the many of Brenda Fassie's fans remarked: '[Brenda] Fassie ... represent[ed] a symbol of originality. She played real music... not the kind that you make on a computer. That's rare today and that contribute[d] to her character as an African legend.'"

- "Fassie lingers as family and fans reminisce", This Day, May 7, 2004

"The most outstanding memory I have of Mbrrr was when I woke up in the middle of the night when we did Baxakekile oxam - one of the tracks on the record-breaking album Memeza. I was toying around with this sound in my head when I thought of her. I immediately got into my car and raced to her house. She was still lying in bed when I played the music. In a minute, she had picked up the melody and started singing with her own lyrics nogal. Such talented people don't come easy. She was gold." - Sello "Chicco" Twala's best memories about Brenda Fassie

- "How I battled to keep Brenda safe", Star, May 11, 2004

"There were lot of good singers around, but in terms of uniqueness of voice, that fresh approach to her songs, there was no one like Brenda." - Koloi Lebona on Brenda Fassie

- "That voice sent goose pimples down my spine", This Day, May 11, 2004



back to the Brenda Fassie memorial page

"I like to create controversy. I'm going to become the Pope next year. Nothing is impossible."
Brenda Fassie
Brenda Fassie, 1984
Picture: Joe Sefale © Sunday Times


Newspaper sources: An exercise in image-making

In this lesson plan, learners are asked to think about different images that the media communicate. They will see that one person can be represented in many different ways, or that one person has different sides. Brenda Fassie was a very complex person.

Lesson page
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Archive Photo Gallery
MaBrrr channels Madonna and other great divas.
Artwork Photo Gallery
Watch the Brenda sculpture develop from clay mould to glowing likeness of the queen of African pop.
Orbituary audio archive
Listen to SAfm/Metro FM’s obituary of Brenda, broadcast on May 10, 2004 (5’42").
Go on a 360° virtual tour of the Brenda Fassie memorial, located at Bassline, in the Newtown precinct of Johannesburg.
Madiba remembers Princess Brenda
Madiba describes his surprise when he heard Princess Brenda coming down the stairs in his house
Zola Budd Track
The Sunday Times Heritage Project’s first memorial is to Brenda Fassie, a woman variously described as the Queen of African pop and the Madonna of the Townships
Brenda Fassie and Zola Budd
MaBrrr struts her stuff and takes on taxi drivers with her big hit, “Zola Budd”