Brenda Fassie. Picture: Supplied

Thirteen years ago on this day, South Africa lost an iconic singer in Brenda Fassie. She died on 9 May 2004, having spent two weeks in a coma. 

Her death was reported to have been caused by a cocaine overdose.

Mabrr was born into a musical family (her mother was a pianist) and at the tender age of five, was already performing for tourists. She was then scouted by Koloi Lebona at the age of 16 and then moved to stay with the Lebona family in Soweto with the aim of pursuing a music career after finishing school.

Mabrr had her breakthrough in 1983 when she and her group, Brenda and the Big Dudes, released their now iconic single, Weekend Special, which became the fastest selling record during that time. In the late 1980’s she went solo. 

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Her Too Late for Mama album, where she worked in partnership with Chicco Twala, went platinum in 1989. Nearly ten years later, Brenda again teamed up with Twala and released the album Memeza, which also became a best-selling record and won multiple awards.

With her career once more on the rise, Mabrr released another album the following year, Nomakanjani, which became her best-selling record, reaching triple platinum status within a few months of release. After Nomakanjani, Brenda never released another record, but continued to tour around the world sharing her timeless music.

She is missed by many because her music and stage presence was adored by everyone, from youngsters to elderly. Even those who were born after her passing know that Brenda was here.