Rebecca Malope: I grew up a very angry person
Johannesburg - Mama Rebecca Malope was not always the happy-go-lucky that Mzansi has come to fall in love with. Beneath the smile and contagious laugh lies a history of sadness, anger, abuse and abandonment.
"I grew up a very angry person. From a very abusive background. A very poor background. There came a time when I said to myself I can’t live with all these scars. I have to change my mindset. I have to be positive. I have to go back and forgive those who hurt me," she told Gareth Cliff in an interview on CliffCentral this week.
Talking about her turbulent childhood, Ma Ribs says that there was a time when her father apparently threw her mother in the crocodile river, only for her mother to survive and then run away.
"The situation at home was not good. My father was very abusive to my mother and to us children as well,” Rebecca remembers.
Rebecca says her mother left her and her siblings with her father. In order to survive, they had to steal food from rubbish bins and then, at 11, work on tobacco farms in the area.
“We had to survive,” she says. “Those situations made me who I am today. When I think about it, it humbles me. I don’t want people to go through that.” she adds.
But even when she became a recognised musician, her lack of proper education meant she could not understand the questions and ended up just laughing. That was when she decided to get a private teacher and learn English.
It was at that time that she was given the name Rebecca, a name that would stick even as she approaches her 30th anniversary in the industry with a show in the UK in May.
To hear more about Rebecca's upbringing and how she found her mother, take a listen below: