Book Review – I’m Not Your Weekend Special

 (Edited by Bongani Madondo) Picador Africa ISBN 9781770103665

We all know Nelson Mandela was a catalyst for political change in the early 90s. But Brenda Fassie in her own crazy over-the-top tabloid way shook cultural, racial, musical and social perceptions way back in the early 80s with her infectious hits I’m Not Your Weekend Special  and  Life is Going On.  She was the black Madonna. She was also the black Brenda—and she never let us forget it.

Whether she was having a wedding bigger than Zindzi Mandela’s or getting divorced just years later, or if she was endorsing a sex-chat line (How- to Have-Sex-In-A-Crowded-House) and hanging out in a lesbian love bed, Brenda was a controversial figure who brought township life to vibrant life.

This book is a collection of essays —or rather love letters—to the Queen of SA Pop. What is striking is how Brenda touched people’s lives with her larger-than-life personality. From Charl Blignaut, a young white gay reporter, to a young black girl like Mmabatho Selemela who was lucky to befriend the singer as a child, she provided the soundtrack to hope, revolution, sex, anger—to ordinary South African lives.

I’m Not Your Weekend Special  has obviously been a labour of love for the editor, Bongani Madondo. He is an amazingly talented writer—with prose that dazzles, haunts, sings. It is a fitting legacy for the great Brenda Fassie.

Anthony Ehlers

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Posted on: 18th July 2014