After 33 years of making music, singer and humanitarian Yvonne Chaka Chaka is returning the love with her new album and single titled Keep Looking At Me.
“The song is for everyone who loves me, worked with me, everybody who admires me ... telling them that they must just keep looking,” she says.
Chaka Chaka is celebrating her 29th wedding anniversary with her husband, Tiny Mhinga, to whom she dedicated her title track. But all the tracks have a story.
“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,” she says.
“You and I Matter was to say that every life matters, no matter where you’re coming from or what you look like.”
Chaka Chaka was recently honoured at the All Africa Music Awards in Ghana for her work.
“When I arrived in Ghana, I was hoping to see the likes of Angélique Kidjo and other older artists I know, but there I was, surrounded by younger artists whom I didn’t know,” says the 53-year-old.
“When my name was called the whole house stood up and they were screaming. That humbled me. It shows that people still appreciate you and it shows the staying power that one has.
“I don’t expect to be rewarded for the work that I do and for doing what I like, but when you get an award it encourages you to work hard, to work smarter, to appreciate what you do and open your heart to the work that you do.”
Chaka Chaka was appointed by the New Partnership for Africa’s Development – an AU economic development programme – as a nutrition and health ambassador. She has been going to health faculties, including at Wits University and the University of Pretoria, to discuss with professors and postgraduates how they can partner with her Princess of Africa Foundation to contribute towards alleviating TB and malaria.
“I believe in our young people. Take from the mistakes we’ve made, give the young people, who are innovative, opportunities and let them come up with ways to put the country on par with the world,” she says.
“I think Africa is just poorly managed. There are so many innovations in Africa, so many good people in Africa, with all its resources which would benefit everyone.
“We need to pull up our socks and start doing things for ourselves.”