Renowned South African musician Yvonne Chaka Chaka has described being honoured at the upcoming 2017Black Entertainment Television (BET) Awards as a great honour to be respected for her talent.

BET announced on Tuesday evening that South Africa’s very own ‘princess of Africa’ Yvonne Chaka Chaka would be honoured with the 2017 BET International Global Good Star and Power award. The award recognizes individuals championing endeavours to positively impact change and heighten awareness in different parts of the world and those that leverage their artistic platform to bring visibility and provide a voice to the under-served and under-represented.

Yvonne Chaka Chaka is an internationally renowned singer, songwriter, entrepreneur, humanitarian and teacher. Yvonne is a legend in the South African popular music scene, with a 27 year career and hits such as “Umqombothi.”

 

Outside of her musical career, Yvonne is a champion for the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria; the United Nations MDG Envoy for Africa; and the Goodwill Ambassador for the Roll Back Malaria Partnership, was chosen by Nelson Mandela as the first ambassador for his children’s fund, and has established her own charity, the Princess of Africa Foundation, which is a member of the ACTION global health advocacy partnership and in 2012, was the first African woman to receive the World Economic Forum’s Crystal Award.

President Jacob Zuma congratulates Ms Yvonne Chaka Chaka on her Crystal Award for her international work in the fight against malaria and other diseases and her work as President of the Princess of Africa Foundation, received at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. Photo: GovernmentZA/Flickr

 

She joins past Global Good honorees artist and philanthropist Akon for his Lighting Africa initiative and Tanzanian supermodel Millen Magese for her dedicated work in maternal and women health as well as the education of African girls on self-care through her Millen Magese Foundation. The Global Good honouurs will be awarded as a part of the BET International presentation, and will be airing in the international edition of the 2017 “BET Awards.”

Yvonne told TshisaLIVE that she was initially shocked when she heard the news but is “deeply humbled” to be recognized by a brand that she loves. “I love BET, I watch their channels but I always thought it was more for the young people. So when I was told that I am nominated, I was deeply humbled because they are recognizing me for respecting my talent and the responsibility it comes with it,” she said.

Yvonne added that she remembers watching US musician Chaka Khan being honoured in 2013 and that she never imagined she would one day join that list. “Knowing the power of my talent helped me to be able to help people. Most of my work to advocate for education and good health has been done in the continent, but it was only because people already knew who Yvonne Chaka Chaka was that I got the opportunity,” she said.

The musician said she hoped young artists learn that pursuing your dreams and knowing that your talent can help change other people’s lives is rewarding.