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Yvonne Chaka Chaka talks to aspiring entrepreneurs

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In partnership with the Riversands Incubation Hub’s business club, renowned singer and businesswoman, Yvonne Chaka Chaka, advised and motivated aspiring entrepreneurs on 17 August.

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The entrepreneurs got the opportunity to hear about Chaka Chaka’s ‘secret brew for success’ as well as her background of growing up in Soweto under apartheid, losing her father at the age of 11 and having a strict but loving mother who was employed as a domestic worker and managed to bring up her three daughters on her meagre R40 a month salary.

As someone with a number of businesses, she elaborated on her entrepreneurial journey as well. “I started singing professionally at 19, in 1985, and my song, I’m in love with a DJ, became an instant hit. I really thank my mother too. She is the best thing that ever happened to me.

“While my mother worked as a domestic worker, she was a proud woman and she loved herself first and that is why she never prostituted us – she protected us and guarded us,” she said.

Chaka Chaka further added that women need to protect their children in order to prevent some of the social ills like the ‘blesser’ phenomenon – sugar daddies showering young women and girls with lots of expensive gifts – which has recently taken the country by storm.

The mother of four boys talked about the importance of asking for help from others and investing in education. “To make sure I had something to fall back on, I furthered my education. I have two diplomas from Unisa, one in adult education, another in local government, management and administration. I also studied speech and drama at Trinity College, London, as I qualified in 1997.”

However, Chaka Chaka admitted that it was tough growing up in those days and explained that, today, we have been given our dignity back. She told the entrepreneurs that it is people like them who must build the country we want. “Social coercion should be eliminated, as success can only be achieved when men and women from all races work together.”

The South African icon works on development projects with the United Nations as a Goodwill Ambassador for the Roll Back Malaria Partnership and The United Nations Children’s Emergency Fund.

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