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Rebecca Malope

SOUTH AFRICA’s Queen of Gospel, Rebecca Malope, recorded her first album ten years ago. Today she is South Africa’s biggest selling local artist.

Rebecca’s story starts in 1986. Driven by a burning desire to become South Africa’s most celebrated and admired songstress, Rebecca, then 21 years, and her sister Cynthia, left their home township of Lekazi near Nelspruit and hiked 400 kilometers to Evaton from where they finally reached Johannesburg. This brave step launched a personal journey of achievement that was destined to touch the hearts and minds of millions.

Arriving in Johannesburg, Rebecca immediately set out to realize her dreams and entered the Shell Road to Fame talent search. She was unsuccessful but this did not deter her, and she entered again in 1987 and won the Shell Road to Fame Award in the Best Female Vocalist category. Diminutive in stature but big in heart, this dynamic and tireless artist utilized the award as a springboard to develop herself into the biggest selling act in South Africa.
Rebecca is the first to acknowledge that she has not done this alone, nor that it was easy. Through determination, hard work, discipline and an iron-will to succeed, she has had to overcome the disadvantage of her semi-rural background. In addition, she has had a talented and supportive team behind her right from the start, not least of whom is Sizwe Zako, producer, mentor and friend.

Although she had won the Shell Road to Fame talent search and had realized part of her dream, Rebecca struggled to find a record company that was willing to help her fulfil that dream. She realized that if she was to fulfil that dream, she had to make it happen herself. She enlisted the help of Sizwe Zako and they, together with Peter Tladi, were able to raise enough money to record Rebecca’s first album. Their confidence was rewarded when, in a matter of weeks, the album reached gold status.

Rebecca has never looked back, she has simply gone from strength to strength. All ten of Rebecca’s albums have sold in excess of gold and indeed the last six of her albums have garnered platinum discs.

To date, she has sold more than ONE MILLION ALBUMS.

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 – selling 100 000 copies in only three weeks – the fastest selling record in South African history.

Although Rebecca’s loyalty is first and foremost to her fans here in South Africa. She is held in very high esteem by fans in neighbouring countries to the North. She also travels overseas to broaden her exposure and to this end has visited and performed in the United Kingdom, France and Israel. She made history travelling to Israel where CCV TV crew 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.

In 1996, she was invited to perform at the State Theatre in Pretoria, and such is her appeal and stature that the audience included a number of Cabinet Ministers and other dignitaries.

Despite all of these tremendous accomplishments and accolades, Rebecca refuses to forget her roots and her biggest mentor, her Lord. “I regard myself as a simple person and will not be swayed by my success and achievements to become something that I am not. All my life I wanted to sing and it is because I believed in the lord, who has blessed me with a wonderful talent, that I have reached the heights I have come to.”
Never content with her success, Rebecca continues to use her talent, creative energy and professional approach to rise to a more evolved level of vocal delivery and refine her live performances into emotion – filled and gusty yet heart – warming African spectaculars.

Following on from that, Rebecca has not only reaped the rewards of selling albums than most. She is continually looking for ways in which to expand her appeal and also to utilize her talents in as many different ways as possible. More importantly, perhaps, she is always looking to worship her Lord and spread his word, as he is her main influence and inspiration.

Instead of settling for a pop career which first shot her to fame, she opted for a new growth phase which produced remarkable gospel albums. Although at the time it was a fairly dramatic career development it has been done so successfully that she has earned the well-deserved title of QUEEN OF GOSPEL.

She has also had the opportunity to use the last few years of her singing career to increase her range of artistic expression to include songwriting and production. She ventured very successfully into this area on UMOYA WAM and has, since then, provided a great deal of input on all her albums thereafter.

She not only writes her own but also lends her talents to writing songs for other artist, the most prominant of which is very successful group, Pure Magic.

The courageous transitions from pop to gospel and from singing to songwriting has not only solidified her position as one of the most serious performing artists to have emerged from South Africa, but also labelled as an artist that inspires hope and optimism with the interpretation of her work.

Unfazed by her success, Rebecca’s deepest desire remains to reach out and embrace the soul of her beloved country through sincere and dedicated song.

“My greatest wish is that through music I can contribute to the happiness of the people and somehow be a beacon of hope that everything is possible if the lord is willing” says Rebecca.

In light of the tremendous changes South Africa has gone through and is going through, and based on the massive support she enjoys countrywide, Rebecca is the perfect candidate to carry the torch of national pride as motivation for all the up coming stars of the difficult rod to local and international recognition and success.

Her latest album ANGINGEDWA encapsulates what Rebecca is. Meaning I AM NOT ALONE, it is a tribute to the people and influences that have supported her, not only during her most successful moments but also through her most painful ones.
Rebecca tragically lost her father, brother and sister during the course of 1996 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.
That resolved and determined to overcome her pain was quickly rewarded and 1997, even at an early stage, looked to be yet another astonishing year in Rebecca’s recording career.

It seems only fair that in the light of her tragedy, ANGINGEDWA went platinum in only three days after its release in March and went double platinum in a matter of weeks.

In April Rebecca also won the FNB South African Music Awards in the Best Selling Artist category for her album UZUBE NAM’. She has more recently been nominated for the same awards in the Best African Gospel, the Best African Pop Performance, the Best Female Artist and the Best Selling Album categories for ANGINGEDWA.

As a fitting end to her success during 1997 Rebecca, together with her backing band Pure Magic embarked on a one-month international tour, which included performances in various parts of the United Kingdom. The tour was a phenomenal success as she brought together audiences who couldn’t even understand the language. Her music was enough.
The tour was particularly significant as the worldwide release of her albums announced at the same time by her record company. Now the world can hear our Queen of Gospel.

Rebecca is naturally thrilled about her world-wide release. “I never had any doubts that I would have a music career but my success as an artist has always been beyond my wildest dreams and this is the cherry on the top. I thank the Lord for giving me the talent and the ability to believe in myself and I thank my fans fir their support, For without them this opportunity would not have been possible.”
It’s an opportunity she intends to grab with both hands and we are sure that the world will embrace Rebecca and her music just as we have.
South African fans need not be concerned that Rebecca will change either her focus on her music as a result of her international release. Rebecca has always been, and will always remain, committed first and foremost to her fans in her own country and producing records for South Africa.
This is best illustrated on her latest album released in March this year, SOMLANDELA, meaning, “we will follow”. Once again this album proves that Rebecca’s success and popularity has in no way diminished. She has grown not only as an artist, but as a songwriter too, having written 6 of the 14 tracks.
Having completed her new album, Rebecca remains as busy as ever with shows and festivals and the year ahead is full of promise. And not just for Rebecca. As she has often said, she does not want to keep her talent to herself. She wants to use it to encourage up – and – coming artists to reach her potential. It is with this in mind that she is currently embarking on various projects as a songwriter and a producer.

ABOUT Entertainment has an exciting catalogue of high calibre polished gospel acts.

Contact us with your requirements so we can make the best suggestions