The Times of Tanzania
Eastern Africa News Network, Breaking News Tanzania

Yvonne Chaka Chaka at loggerheads with Chicco over the royalties for the song ‘Umqomboti.’

Yvonne Ntombizidwe Machaka, the South African songstress could possibly be the first bubblegum artist from down under, to break into the East African music scene.

Known artistically as Yvonne Chakachaka, the then young crooner did commercial wonders with her debut album, ‘I am in love the DJ,’ which found its way on these shores in early 1985.

The accompanying video for the hit ‘I am burning up,’ one of the songs in the long play compilation of six tracks went viral in Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania at the time when Television services in the three countries were still in their infant stage.

A year later Chakachaka once more burst onto the local music scene like a fresh sweet fruit with the hit song ‘Thank You Mr DJ,’ a title track for the second album,  sweeping us men off our feet and casting a spell on women, with the males swooning at her cover photo while females wishing they were in her place.

That second LP contained the other megahit, ‘Umqomboti,’ a song about a traditional brew, featuring heavy baritone voiced men on chorus which essentially sounded like a classic church choir.

‘Umqomboti,’ became a staple anthem in almost all parties, households, dancehalls, public places and blaring from radio stations.

Fast forward 30 years later and Yvonne Chaka Chaka is accusing the other South African top pop icon, Sello Twala, known as ‘Chicco,’ of withholding royalties for the record sales from the hit ‘Umqomboti.’

Apparently, ‘Chicco,’ an ace singer, songwriter and music arranger, composed the hit ‘Umqomboti,’ for Yvonne Chakachaka, therefore enjoys the kickbacks from its sales as the lyric writer and co-producer.

But now Yvonne claims she also co-composed some elements in the song, hence deserving to be paid.

“True that ‘Umqombothi’ was written by Chicco, but I added some elements to it,” says Yvonne.

“I added the lines ‘Nawu! Nawu! Madoda’ and the chant ‘Everybody’ parts but have never received a cent from that project,” Ms Machaka maintains.

Yvonne adds that “They didn’t credit me, but back then, I was very young and clueless about the music industry. This is the first time I’m speaking out about this,” she said.

Sello Twala (Chicco) who also penned the other successful hit ‘Sangoma,’ for ChakaChaka retorted that Yvonne earned millions out of live concerts for the song ‘Umqomboti,’ and the whole of Africa knows her because of that.

“In fact, the song ‘Umqomboti,’ gave Chakachaka a worldwide fame,” points out Chicco, who is also popular for his own works such as ‘Soldier;’ ‘We Miss you Manelow;’ ‘We Don’t Need the War’ and ‘Papa Stop the War!’

Yvonne Chakachaka is currently the goodwill ambassador for the African battle against Malaria.

In East Africa she is known for the hits like ‘Sangoma,’ ‘The Stone,’ ‘I Cry for Freedom,’ ‘Umqomboti,’ and the ballad, ‘From Me to You!’

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