More than just a story about the personal journey of one of South Africa’s most beloved music icons, this extraordinary memoir of PJ Powers – or Thandeka, as she was affectionately renamed by Soweto crowds – is set against the turbulent backdrop of South Africa’s recent political history. It features a gallery of political leaders and international celebrities, including the likes of Nelson Mandela, Graça Machel, Chris Hani, Joaquim Chissano, Queen Elizabeth II, Brenda Fassie, Sharon Stone and Robert De Niro.
On Republic Day 1982, a white rock and roll band called Hotline, wearing stonewashed jeans and sporting big hair, took an accidental sho’t left into Soweto – a detour that forever changed the life of their lead singer, PJ Powers. Hotline was the first all-white rock and roll band to ‘cross over’ into highly segregated apartheid South Africa, making international headlines in the process. The prolific Powers went on to accomplish extraordinary heights as a solo artist with countless gold and platinum discs.
Here I Am, written with Marianne Thamm, is an intimate and hilarious account of the life and times of one of this country’s most recognisable and enduring performers. From the dizzying heights of international stardom to the dark depths of her struggle with alcohol, this is a must-read to explore the heady mix of politics and music of the time.
Image courtesy of Fiona Macpherson