EVERY Sunday night for seven years Rebecca Malope has welcomed loyal SABC2 Gospel Time viewers with vigour and energy.

We have seen that same vitality from the gospel queen during her 25 years in the music industry.

And she has the same dyna-mism even on the telephone.

“Ah, how are you, sis wam? I am ready. Let’s do this,” said a chirpy voice on the other side of the line.

What followed was a pleasant chat about her much publicised performance in Ghana and her album, Ukuthula, that is expected to be released this month.

“I heard that my picture was the advertisement for the Kiss and Glory event in Ghana on March 6 and I was amazed as the trip was not formalised.

“The organisers had not paid when we spoke with them in November. I told them how we work and about the contract.

“They told me that I must send my passport and when I asked them about the tests we are supposed to do before enter- ing the country they said we can do them when I get there. I cannot work like that – give my passport to just anyone and risk my life like that.

“If I contract a disease in Ghana I can end up paralysed. It has happened to other musicians, but it will not happen to me, hayikhona,” said Rebecca.

I could hear her clapping her hands and visualise her signature haircut and her eyes turned upwards.

Thanks to my aunt’s love and endless repeats of Rebecca’s greatest hits DVD every Easter holiday, I can imagine any of her theatrical expressions.

The songbird’s gospel remake of the popular communist song, My mother, from her 2009 album, My hero, had tongues wagging and fans looking forward to other surprises in her next album.

“In Ukuthula people must expect rejuvenating sounds and I love the whole album. I decided on that name after thinking about the state the world is in today

“People have no peace. There is war everywhere, even in churches.

“I want people to come together and more importantly have peace in their lives, so that we can have peace in the world,” said Rebecca.

Another topic of conversation was Rebecca’s daughter, Noluthando, who entered Popstars. “She told me that she wanted to enter the competition, but I discouraged her because I want her to finish her studies first.

“The next thing I see people coming into my house with cameras saying they are from Popstars. She didn’t make it and I am glad because now she can focus on her studies and learn from her mistakes. I also entered talent shows before and I was rejected, but I have no doubt about her talent – but music must come after her B Comm qualification,” said Rebecca.

Closest to her heart, she says, is presenting Gospel Time and the experiences she has had inter-acting with other gospel musicians.

“Doing the show just brings joy to my heart. I get to meet other gospel artists who I share the industry with but never get the chance to sit down and chat to. I get to tell them how they inspire me to carry on doing what I do.

“I love singing and I will not retire unless my voice will no longer allow me to sing. I look at gospel singers nowadays recycling songs from the hymn book.

As a final “food for thought”, Malope added: “People must write their own songs because they have sung all the popular hymns. Gospel is about a message and artists need to reach a stage where it’s no longer about the love but about the passion.”