PJ POWERS / THANDEKA
Voted one of the top ten people brands in South Africa in 2011, PJ’s musical career has spanned several decades and crosses all barriers of both age and race. Famous since the eighties when “Hotline” was the largest selling band in South Africa, her solo career has contained many highlights. She has recorded 16 albums and is currently in studio preparing for a 2013 launch of the 17th.
What has enabled her to succeed in this pressurized industry? Her music, in Afropop style has had a universal appeal. It also caused her to be banned by the apartheid government, but that just made her more sought after all over Africa. She has sung with many of the greats: Miriam Makeba, Hugh Masekela, Eric Clapton, Joan Armitrading and Harry Belafonte. But, perhaps the greatest highlight was receiving a letter from Nelson Mandela when he was in Victor Verster prison, still one of her most treasured possessions.
It was Madiba who asked her to sing the “World In Union” in 1995 when South Africa won the Rugby World Cup, and again he honored her, asking PJ to write the special song for his 85th birthday, which she sang in front of a celebrity filled room including the Clinton’s and Oprah amongst many others. She also sang at the inauguration of Mandela as the first democratic President. In 2009 PJ’s rendition of the “World In Union” was featured in the Academy Award-nominated film “Invictus”.
In the 80′s PJ was named Thandeka, the Loved One by the people of Soweto when she sang one of her biggest hits, “Jabulani” at the stadium of that name. A prolific song writer, some of her best known hits are, “You’re So Good To Me”, “There Is An Answer” and “Feel So Strong”.
PJ has sung for Queen Elizabeth of the United Kingdom, King Juan Carlos of Spain and Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands. The Department of Justice honored PJ with the award for Peace and Reconciliation in 2006.
In 2010 PJ teamed up to sing a hip hop version of Jabulani with Hip hop superstar HHP for the FIFA Soccer World Cup.
Today, her journey of recovery from alcoholism has brought a new dynamic into her life and she has started a company, “Power of Appreciation” which is transforming the mindsets of the South African workforce. In addition to a still busy musical career, PJ is fast becoming a sought after speaker. She talks with empathy, understanding, humour and sadness about her journey as she inspires people to feel a sense of gratitude for what they have, no matter how little it seems.