Brenda Fassie Memorial

Landmarks / Memorials in or near Newtown, Johannesburg in Gauteng, South Africa.

Gauteng Tourist AttractionsBrenda Fassie Memorial

Where? Bassline Music Venue, 10 Henry Nxumalo Street, Newtown, Johannesburg, Gauteng, South Africa

Overnight? Stay in Newtown, in Gauteng

The bronze sculpture of Brenda Fassie outside the Bassline music Venue in Newtown, Johannesburg, is one of 40 memorial art works placed by the Sunday Times around the country to celebrate its 100th birthday, and to promote national identity.

The sculpture, by artist Angus Taylor, is a 1570 metre, life-size statue that is an unusual pose of the top selling pop diva, known to her fans as Ma Brr. The artist was inspired by two art works in Havanna - Jose Soberon Villa's bronzes of John Lennon on a park bench, and Ernest Hemingway propping up a bar.

Fassie is perched on a barstool, her mic (which was broken and repaired in 2012) in front of her. Next to her, however, is a vacant barstool, inviting passers-by to take a seat and 'chat' to her.

The stool is a way to encourage people to interact with the sculpture. Embossed in bronze in tiny letters are a number of quotes by Fassie. If you take the time to stop and look for them.

Brenda Fassie was an anti-apartheid Afropop singer known as the 'Madonna of the Townships'.

She was born in Cape Town in the township, Langa, the youngest of nine children. After the death of her father Brenda helped earn money by singing for tourists, whilst her mother accompanied her on the piano.

She headed to Johannesburg to start a huge career, joining the group Joy and then later leading the group Brenda and the Big Dudes, before producing numerous solo albums. Her notorious drug abuse was a problem for most of her adult life, and she was constantly in and out of rehabilitation clinics.

She died very young at the age of 39, in 2004, in hospital after taking an overdose of cocaine and slipping into a coma from which she never emerged.

"I am a shocker. I like to create controversy. It's my trademark. she was heard to remark during an interview.

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