Our chat with International house singer Monique Bingham
Monique Bingham (PHOTO: Getty/Gallo)
sensation, Monique Bingham (47) is in South Africa again in preparation for the
festive season. DRUM caught up with Monique to speak about her love for South
Africa and some of the work she’s doing to help a charity close to her heart.
Even though the
sun in Pretoria is unforgivingly hot, Monique looks relaxed as her feet are
being massaged and pedicured. She swallows a red grape from the platter of
fruit laid in front of her before sharing her passion for Lebone Village, which
is an orphanage in the Free State.
“A friend of
mine, Kaiser Khoza, introduced me to the orphanage. They take in children from
infants to teenagers who have been orphaned due to HIV/AIDS, so they need to
maintain the place and keep it running. So we’re trying to raise awareness and
money to make sure that happens,” she says with smile.
In efforts to
raise funds for the orphanage, Monique and her team, as well as some of her
friends are hosting a charity dinner at the Cradle Boutique Hotel in Lanseria
on December 11. Tickets are R650 and can be bought via Monique’s website, or
you can email her.
But more than
anything, the country has a special place in her heart, and that’s why she’s
been here every single festive season for seven years now.
“I mean, apart
from gigging, I’ve created such strong bonds with the people here, and they’re
practically family now. So I’m always happy to be here – it’s home,” she tells
So what’s her
favourite city in South Africa?
“Oh no, that’s
an unfair question. I love every city because they all have such different
vibes and it’s beautiful to see, really. But I guess I’m more akin to Joburg
because it resembles New York so much, and that’s where I’m from. But seriously,
I love them all. Cape Town, East London, Durban, some parts of Limpopo –
they’re all so different and cool. I can’t pick,” she laughs.
The one thing
that still shocks Monique are the levels of extreme poverty that some people
still have to endure, “to see how some people are living is truly heart
breaking, and what hurts the most is how normal it gets after a while and that
sucks. I mean, it’s 2018 and to just know that some people don’t even have
access to clean and safe water is just…wow.”
And that’s why
she always makes sure she gives her performances her all:
people’s realities are so bleak sometimes, they need a getaway and to fully
have fun and forget about their problems for a little bit. That’s why I don’t
let any negative energy bring me down when I have to perform, because it’s my
job to make people feel good.”
out, Monique mentions that although she hasn’t really taken the time explore
South African dishes, “pap” is right up on her favourite uniquely South African
foods, “I have an entire song to attest to it,” she laughs.