Sat | Dec 15, 2018

Queen Ifrica delivers timely message

Published:Wednesday | April 4, 2018 | 6:13 PMStephanie Lyew
Queen Ifrica
Winnie Mandela

SUBHEAD: Artistes shares memory of Winnie Mandela

Two years ago reggae singer, Queen Ifrica travelled to South Africa to share the Joe Burke Theatre stage with Hugh Masekela, a musician who is proclaimed the ‘father of South African Jazz’. Her performance led to her being asked to be part of the 80th birthday celebration for Winnie Mandela, which was happening that same week.

The female activist’s death on Monday, April 2 (two years later) hit Queen Ifrica hard, as the event felt like just the other day. Hugh Masekela, also passed away in January of this year.

Queen Ifrica, says she had so many images from the event, but could only reflect in her personal space on the event and also the work of Winnie Mandela, who she says, apart from her mother, is the only woman to kiss her on the lips and get away with it.

“I questioned if she was happy or in a place of comfort at the moment of her passing, to the point of being moved to tears; when icons of her revere pass, you feel it, especially if their work is something you understand,” Queen Ifrica told The Gleaner.

The reggae singer says the few times she visited South Africa, she was able to visit the residence, but never had an opportunity to meet Winnie Mandela before the birthday celebration. It was a momentous occasion in Queen Ifrica’s career.

The celebration, Queen Ifrica says, attracted all the tribes of Africa.

“There were women of all races; Chinese, Japanese, African and Caucasian women in traditional clothes, dancing and chanting. It was surreal to see thousands of people parading in the streets, singing 'Winnie Mandela, happy birthday', in an African melody.”

“As the only female artiste from Jamaica to go on stage, you could say it was a milestone in my career,” she said. “Also, to be able to sing, Lioness, and receive such a great response from persons in attendance, including Winnie Mandela, was an extreme honour.”

Ifrica expressed that while Winnie Mandela was strong in spirit, her physical strength was lacking.

Before leaving South Africa, Queen Ifrica, had the opportunity to speak to Winnie Mandela, where she received a message to deliver to Jamaica for her.

“She wanted me to tell Jamaicans, she was working on her health and wanted to be strong enough, as one of her greatest wish was to come back to the island to show her gratitude for the support extended to Nelson Mandela and for her activism.”

Her recollection comes at a time when Queen Ifrica, is envisioning the concept of the music video for Black Woman, from her album, Climb, released officially last year March. Ifrica hopes the music video will portray the strength of black women and to remind them of their value in the space as a woman.

“I learnt a lot from Winnie Mandela’s life; living as a woman who fought alongside her spouse and making that sacrifice during the time of an apartheid system. She teaches me to be a persistent and strong black woman and if you have a passion or a calling, do it with grace and poise.”

Queen Ifrica will be performing this Sunday at Liberty Hall for the tribute to Winnie Mandela.