Born in Langa, Cape Town, South Africa in 1964
When Brenda Fassie was four, she started a singing group. At 14, she had moved from her home town to Johannesburg to seek her musical fortune. She found it when she was asked to stand in for a member of one of Soweto's more popular groups at the time, Joy. She was an instant hit and quickly went on to join to other hot groups of the era: Blondie and Papa, and the Big Dudes.
She then recorded her first single, "Weekend Special," which soon became a hit in her homeland as well as in the U.K. Success proved to be a strain for Fassie, who was free with her money and liberal in her drug consumption. In 1986, she made a public admission that she was a drug addict.
She continued to produce musically, however. In 1994, she released "Abantu Bayakhuluma," soon followed by an album titled, "Now is the Time," which featured a duet with the reknowned maestro Papa Wemba.
Cocaine was still a part of Fassie's life when her best friend and lover died after an all-night binge. The tragedy is said to have forced Fassie out of her stupor and into the studio to record her watershed album "Memeza."
Although aspects of Fassie's personal life still continue to appear in the news, she has reclaimed her status as a South African Kwaito diva with the most recent release of "Nomaknajani," which has gone triple platinum.
Brenda Fassie, released 1990 on SBK Records
Memeza, released 1997
Mama, released 1997, Terrascape/Subharmonic
Nomakanjani, released 1999, EMI South Africa
Amadlozi, released 2000, EMI South Africa