While watching South African singer and humanitarian, Yvonne Chaka Chaka’s interview on Aljezeera, this weekend- on her charitable work, I heard a rather unusual request. It came in the last minutes of the interview.
Yvonne Chaka Chaka’s musical career and philanthropic work have earned her the title “Princess of Africa” by people around the world.
A singer for over two decades, she rose to fame at the height of apartheid with her catching pop melodies and dance music. Since then, her music has spread across cultures as she has travelled to perform with top musicians, like Bono.
Chaka Chaka’s passionate commitment to mothers and children in the fight against malaria earned her the honour to serve as a United Nations Goodwill ambassador.
In the interview, the singer said she had accomplished a lot, including meeting many world personalities, and when asked what legacy she wanted to leave behind; pray, what might that be, I asked myself, curious and afraid that it might be yet another of those incessant dreams that artistes think of.
Anyone who has been following the trends long enough will have, by now, taken note of the fact that musicians, the world over, imagine themselves unique people who like unique things, posh cars, mansions, name it.
Some folks will ask for things that are helpful to musicians – great instruments, of course: tuners, cleaning kits, instrument stands, repair kits mega studio and whatever else they need to start or complete this or that musical project.
Whereas most musicians are happy just to be able to play for an audience, many do it for riches and fame.
Others will spend a considerable amount of time on the road, travelling to and from performances, or at least just seeking performing opportunities.
Since most musicians’ shows are at night and on weekends, artistes who don’t fully support themselves through their art often take day-time jobs to make up for extra income.
There is nothing wrong with all this; perfectly legitimate because these are genuine things that help artistes in general. But in many ways too, the worldly antenna of musicians gets elated, because there is always opportunity to live opulent lives.
For those who love drugs and the bottle, everywhere and every time they stage concerts they will inevitably ask, or to be precise, will have had it if they are to perform to people’s expectation.
Those who want cash at hand will also make their feelings known without mincing their words. And whereas it may be no big deal to take the odd round of drinks for some of these chaps, the dilemma is that their fans will also take such lifestyle as normal.
Object to it and you will be accused of backwardness.
But back to unreasonable characters, a musician must be able to deal with their anxieties and deliver quality performance in front of any gathering.
Musicians sometimes face unfriendly audience, but discipline requires that one maintains confidence in their abilities to succeed.
There are a few kinsmen who are the proverbial thief among the clansmen that makes a whole clan of an otherwise good society look bad.
That is why I wondered what was up Chaka Chaka’s mind when she intimated that she needed to meet her Creator.
When I listened to this artiste’s request, I was surprised to learn that she was no longer interested in those worldly desires.
Musicians almost never give up their music career completely. Even when they abandon it for more stable, well-paying jobs, they sometimes seek out nightclub engagements and weekends.
Some artistes find jobs in teaching music, song writing or even music therapy.
Those with vast technical knowledge may fit in the specialized area of instrument repairs and tuning. They may also find openings in music libraries.
Those who enjoy the business side of it may become music industry executives, concert managers, publicists or record store managers.
But Chaka Chaka seems not to be desperate for more work. All she needs, she said, was to meet her Creator. I could not believe what I was hearing. I had heard all kinds of people’s dreams over the years from people I have interviewed as a journalist, but this one was unique.
Chaka Chaka reminds me of one thing. The Biblical King Solomon, who asked for wisdom from God, instead of riches as most people would expect.