Legendary South African musician Penelope Jane Dunlop, popularly known as PJ Powers, will be performing in Uganda in June this year.
We can authoritatively write, that the ‘Jabulani’ hit maker will be performing in Kampala at a charity event organised by Girls Up Uganda, an NGO.
Addressing journalists at Sheraton Hotel in Kampala today, PJ Powers said she accepted to grace the Girl Up Uganda event because she had been touched by its founder’s story.
“I am not going to be paid for this but I was so touched by Monica’s (founder Girl Up) story. How a person like her would rise from the slums to one of the best universities in the world and now back to helping other girls. When she reached me, I welcomed the idea of being part of the event because this is one of the ways I could give back to the people of Uganda,” she said.
She added: “Reflecting on an amusing memory from a previous trip to Uganda, I love this country! It’s about 14 years since I was here. I really loved the country and Ugandans have always been loyal to me. Not that the rest of Africans don’t love me, they do but in all countries I have been to, Ugandans were most loyal to me. They helped my music career and this the best way I can give back.”
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’. Hotline disbanded in 1987, after which PJ Powers pursued a solo career.
The year 1988 saw PJ banned from radio and TV for a year by the apartheid government for her performance at a charity concert for war orphans in Zimbabwe, together 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 no. 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 include; Feel So Strong, You’re So Good to Me, There is an Answer, Home to Africa and Jabulani.
Her show in Uganda is slated for June 30, at Serena Conference center.