Our chat with International house singer Monique Bingham

2018-12-06 13:23
Monique Bingham (PHOTO: Getty/Gallo)
Monique Bingham (PHOTO: Getty/Gallo)

House music 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 DRUM.

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:

“Because 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.”

Before heading 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.