If you’ve been to college, you’re probably familiar with the term “thirsty Thursday”. If not, here’s the breakdown: a day where students oppressed by the daily routine of college decide to celebrate the weekend early by consuming a lot of alcohol. I won’t disclose whether I participated or not but I will provide you with a song of my choice if I could participate today. Don’t worry I am over 21 and have just chosen as of a few months ago to stop drinking for good (for financial reasons lol….I prefer shoes over cocktails). Although I was first exposed to alcohol at an appropriate age, I remember being exposed to one of the African songs that glorifies drinking culture in a classy traditional way. Ladies and gentlemen, that song is Umqombothi by Yvonne Chaka Chaka who has since been dubbed as the Princess of Africa.
As you may or may not know, I proclaimed that I would dedicate this week on my blog to all the women who have served as inspirations in my life. Although “thirsty Thursdays can be fun, that’s not what I truly associate Yvonne Chaka Chaka with in my memory. I was first introduced to Chaka Chaka’s music as a young girl (probably less than 9 years old) in Kenya when my dad brought home a video tape (dark ages lol) which was a music collection of Chaka Chaka’s greatest hits. As I think back on that now, I realize that she was the first musician that I had ever seen on our TV. From research (wikipedia *cough* *cough*), I have discovered that she was one of the first Black people to air on TV in South Africa (apartheid *cough* *cough*). She was truly an icon. Even my less than 9 year old self could see how glamorous and confident she was in her videos.
Chaka Chaka represented an African Princess though she was not one by birth rite. In fact, she was raised by a single mother who struggled to make ends meet with her meager salary as a domestic worker. Her father, a struggling musician, died when she was 11 years old. Therefore, I find it inspiring that Chaka Chaka still decided to pursue music despite the reality of her father’s struggle as a musician and the reality of segregation in South Africa. I think she represents female boldness and perseverance when the odds were against her. Her story shows that success is not determined by where you came from or who your parents are. Instead, success is determined by what you decide to do and how you choose to do it. With that I am reminded of a quote from a CEO that I met at a conference this year. It might be corny but I think it rings true: “If not you, who?” If you don’t pursue that dream you have, who will? If you don’t work hard for what you want, who will do it for you?
I don’t mean to sound like DJ Khaled here but you are the “major key” of your life. Let us seek inspiration from those who have made it so that we may be inspiration for others. With that said, many thanks to you for reading my blog and many thanks to Yvonne Chaka Chaka for blessing our ears with her music.