Saturday July 1 2017

Speaker Kadaga graces veteran South African musician PJ ‘Powers Jabulani Charity Concert’

South African veteran musician PJ Powers

South African veteran musician PJ Powers performing on her charity concert in Kampala on June 30, 2017. Photo by Abubaker Lubowa  

By Isaac Ssejjombwe

Musicians have been paid lots of money, flown first class only to get here and they dupe revelers by performing off CDs.
That was what most people thought would happen when it was announced that South African veteran musician Penelope Jane Dunlop popularly known as PJ Powers was in town.

But Powers who has recorded 15 albums proved that even without receiving a single coin, she could put up an emphatic live performance that left many in attendance, yearning for more during the ‘The Jabulani Charity Concert’.

Speaker Rebecca Kadaga who was the guest of

Speaker Rebecca Kadaga who was the guest of honour addresses revellers. Photo by Abubaker Lubowa


Despite the fact that there were other musical events around town, the kind of people that came to Serena Kampala Hotel – including guest of honour Speaker Rebecca Kadaga - cared less as they danced away to some of the memorable songs by the former lead singer for the rock band Hotline.

According to Kadaga, she, like others was at the show for the good of the girl child.
“When I got the invitation, which was among the many I receive daily, I couldn’t refuse to come because this is a matter that concerns the girl child,” she said. “We have a lot of unfairness in our society when it comes to the female child and with such an event; at least we know that something is being done about it.”

Who is PJ Powers

PJ showing revellers that she still got them

PJ showing revellers that she still got them moves


Born in in Durban, KwaZulu-Natal on July 16, 1960, PJ's first musical group was an all-girl band called Pantha. About a year later she joined Jimslip which in time became the famous "Hotline". She was the lead singer for the rock band Hotline, which was formed in Johannesburg in 1980. The band changed their style to Afro-rock in 1983. Hotline disbanded in 1987, after which P.J. Powers pursued a solo career.

The year 1988 saw P.J. banned from radio and TV for a year by the apartheid government for her performance at a charity concert for war orphans in Zimbabwe, along with Miriam Makeba and Harry Belafonte. She was encouraged to continue her singing by Nelson Mandela, who sent her an encouraging letter from Victor Verster Prison in Cape Town.
In 1995, her recording of the Rugby World Cup official song featuring Ladysmith Black Mambazo, "World in Union", reached number 47 on the UK Singles Chart. She performed the song live at the opening of the 1995 Rugby World Cup in Cape Town for a worldwide television audience.

In the '90s, her music took on a more Afro-pop focus, finding a receptive audience in the black market, who gave her the nickname, "Thandeka" — "the loved one".


Some of her biggest hits like "Feel So Strong" (a 1983 duet with Steve Kekana) she wrote herself, as well as "You're So Good to Me" (1982), "There is an Answer" (1986) and "Home to Africa" (1985). One of her biggest hits (with Hotline) was "Jabulani", which was written by Hotline's bass guitarist, George Van Dyk, who later went on to have his own band called Wozani.

P.J. has shared the stage with Eric Clapton, Joan Armatrading, Hugh Masekela, Divine Divas, Lord Richard Attenborough, Richard E. Grant, Sibongile Khumalo, Janet Suzman and other big names. P.J. sang for Queen Elizabeth of the United Kingdom, King Juan Carlos of Spain and Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands. She sang at the inauguration of President Nelson Mandela and at the 1995 Rugby World Cup.

She collaborated with Vicky Sampson, Yvonne Chaka Chaka and M'du Masilela for the music video flighted at the United Nations Assembly in Washington, D.C. and in Greece. P.J. also wrote an 85th birthday song for Mandela, which she sang for him and guests including Bill Clinton and Oprah Winfrey at his party in 2003. In 2009, Powers' recording of "World In Union" was featured in the Academy Award-nominated film, Invictus. Even today, her music is still played on radios.

Issejjombwe@ug.nationmedia.com

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