Yvonne Chaka Chaka (born Yvonne Machaka in 1965) is a South African singer.Dubbed the "Princess of Africa", Chaka Chaka has been at the forefront of South African popular music for 20 years. Songs like "I'm Burning Up", "thank you mister dj", "I Cry for Freedom", "Makoti", "Motherland" and the ever-popular "Umqombothi" ("African Beer") ensured Yvonne's stardom.
The song "Umqombothi" was featured in the opening scene of the 2004 movie Hotel Rwanda.
Chaka Chaka was born in Dobsonville in Soweto. She became the first Black child to appear on South African television. In 1981 "Sugar Shack", a talent show, introduced her to the South African public.
Chaka Chaka started singing at 19 in 1985 when Phil Hollis of Dephon Records discovered her in Johannesburg. Shortly after, her debut album "I’m in Love With a DJ", sold 35,000 copies, and the title track became an instant hit.
Songs like "I'm Burning Up", "I Cry for Freedom", "Sangoma","Motherland" and the ever-popular, "Umqombothi" immediately ensured Chaka Chaka's status as a star on South Africa's mbaqanga music scene.
Chaka Chaka had it tough growing up. Her father died when she was 11 and her mother, a domestic worker, brought up three daughters on her meagre 40 Rand a month salary.
She has two diplomas from the University of South Africa, one in adult education, another in local government, management and administration. She also studied speech and drama at Trinity College, London, qualifying in 1997.
Releasing hit after hit, Chaka Chaka's subsequent award winning albums include "Burning Up", "Sangoma", "Who’s The Boss", "Motherland", " Be Proud to be African", "Thank You Mr DJ", "Back on my Feet", "Rhythm of Life", "Who's got the Power", "Bombani ( Tiko Rahini), "Power of Afrika", "Yvonne and Friends" and "Kwenzenjani".