With her wondrous voice and her charismatic stage presence Rebecca Malope became South Africa`s greatest gospel star. Together with her fabulous backing band she has sold several million records world wide and is guaranteed to give a performance you will never forget. Today Rebecca Malope, who is Nelson Mandelas favourite singer, is South Africa's biggest selling artist, but her road to fame wasn´t always an easy one:
Born in a little rural township called Lekazi near the Kruger National Park, Rebecca hit the road in 1986 at the age of 21 and hitched a 400 kilometers ride to Johannes-burg together with her sister Cynthia. In 1987 Rebecca entered the "Shell Road to Fame" talent search and won in the category "Best Female Vocalist" with a song that the composer and producer Sizwe Zakho had written for her. Nevertheless Rebecca struggled to find a record company. She decided to start a partnership with Sizwe Zako and the music agent Peter Tladi. They were able to raise enough money to record Rebecca's debut album. Their confidence was rewarded: the cd sold ballistic, hit the top of the charts and reached gold status within a few weeks only. The next three albums of Rebecca Malope reached gold, while all further albums became platinum discs.
Rebecca won the OKTV Awards as best South African female artist for the period 1989/1990; when over 10 million listeners voted for her the best local established artist in the 1993 Coca Cola Full Blast music show. She won it again in 1994. Also in 1994, she won the FNB South African Music Award for Best gospel Singer.1995 saw her making history with the release of her 7th album "Shwele Baba" -the cd sold more than 100 000 copies in only three weeks and became the fastest selling record in South African history. In that same year she travelled to Israel where CCV TV shot a 52-minute Easter special for national broadcast on Good Friday, 15 April 1995."The impact was such that even the boxing fraternity, realizing that she is a national treasure' commissioned her to perform before a double world title fight and she was further given the honour of singing the National Anthem which was televised live to 30 countries world - wide."(About Entertainment South Africa)
Only a year later in 1996 Rebecca Malope lost her father, brother and sister in tragic circumstances: "She had to dig deep into her soul for the will to continue her music. As a tribute to her family, and especially to her mother, she was able to call her on lord to provide the resolve to carry on as strongly as before."(Afribeat) Against the backdrop of this tragedy, her album "Angingedwa" went platinum in only three days after its release in March 1997 and went double platinum a few weeks later. In April `97 Rebecca won the FNB South African Music Awards in the Best Selling Artist category for her album "Uzube Nam". Also in 1997 she went on an international tour with her backing band "Pure Magic". The tour which included performances in various parts of the UK lasted one month and was a phenomenal success. For Rebecca Malope the tour was particularly significant as the worldwide release of her albums announced at the same time by her record company.
In the last few years Rebecca has become known as "South Africa's Queen of Gospel" in her own country, where she is dearly loved like in other parts of Africa as well (while Rebecca's songs always have been gospel music with a difference, because of the traditional Zulu influences. "Now her fame is spreading around the world very fast as people hear her stunning recordings, see her on video or, better still, live on stage. "Rebecca performs with her band Pure Magic and together they certainly live up to that name - their music is totally infectious."(African Music Profiles)
Rebecca Malope came back to the UK in 2001 when she performed at the South Bank in London and in 2002 at the WOMAD festival in Reading. As a reaction to her performances BBC Radio 3 wrote about her:
"Rebecca is now hailed as the Queen of South African gospel and over the past decade she has toured all over southern Africa, winning several major awards along the way. Gospel is fuelled by the certainty that the spirit can triumph over adversity, that love can conquer fear and despair. There can be few people more qualified to bring the good news than Rebecca Malope."