Princess of Africa Yvonne Chaka Chaka has no plans of slowing down and promises to keep making music and ramp up her humanitarian efforts through finding solutions to some of Africa’s health problems.
The 53-year-old has been busy in recent weeks, celebrating her 29th wedding anniversary with her husband Mandlalele Mhinga, her appointment by the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (Nepad) as a nutrition and health ambassador, and the release of her latest album "Keep Looking at Me".
“Every track is different. "Pardon Me" was a song inspired by a little child travelling from Syria and it speaks to keeping the doors open when new people want to come in.
“You and I Matter' was to say that every life matters no matter where you’re coming from or what you look like,” she said.
The album is recognisable with her previous works with uplifting lyrics and elaborate production, and includes collaborations from both established and upcoming artists.
Chaka Chaka said her music was inspired by the countries she travelled to - and what she saw and felt while she was there - and her interactions with people.
“The song "Kulila", on the album, was a letter written to a grandma by a young man from Namibia. I went to visit a children’s home and they were singing because, despite the disabilities they have, they don’t have the inability and I recorded a song with them.”
With more than 33 years’ experience in the industry, Chaka Chaka said music was not about evolution but providing joy for people.
“It’s about wanting to spread my wings. It’s not really about relevance but more about what you do and staying true to yourself. I was singing on Friday and so many young people were dancing to this old woman’s music that’s inspiring for them.
“I always take my craft seriously and look to people like Aretha Franklin and Quincy Jones, who have been doing it for years just for the pure love of the music,” she said.
Over the past 14 years, Chaka Chaka has been a UN Goodwill Ambassador and was appointed to her role with Nepad two months ago.
“It is quite humbling that people are willing to work with me.
“We go to countries that need mosquito nets and we see how these nets are being used. I’m grateful to go to these countries and see how the programmes are doing and what solutions we can implement,” said Chaka Chaka.
Her plans for the future include continuing her music career and ambassador work.
“My belief is, we are all born with nothing and we all leave with nothing. I can never change the world but I can change one person.
“You can’t buy life, joy or happiness and for me it’s to go out there and do good, and we all have the ability to do good.”