In a country where being fluent in English is seen as an equivalent of being intelligent. (Which is absolutely not true) Gospel great, Rebecca Malope who also struggled with the language in the early years of her career explains how not understanding English became a hindrance in her career.
Speaking to Move Magazine, Rebecca Malope shared how her first ever radio interview became one of the most embarrassing moments of her career, all she could do is laugh hysterically at the deejay as she could not understand what he was saying:
"I remember my first ever radio interview after I won the competition, I could not speak English. I did the interview on Metro FM.
The deejay started asking me questions in English but instead of responding, I just laughed. He asked me what my name was I just kept laughing. The interview ended up with him just playing music for the whole hour. I was laughing because I was embarrassed. I did not understand a single word that he was saying."
The experience quickly made her realize that she had to do something about her English knowledge and immediately enrolled for private English lessons.
"I knew that sooner or later it was going to limit my career prospects and I would not be able to travel out of South Africa. Since I did not attend school growing up, I did not let that get me down. I knew I was the only person who could change my situation. At the age of 21, I took it upon myself to take private English lessons. I also had a friend who got me an English and isiZulu dictionary."
For someone who had little to no knowledge of the English language Rebecca Malope has sold over 4 million albums in South Africa, making her one of the biggest-selling female artists in the country. Let's also not forget the countless awards she's been scooping since the early 90's.
So next time someone insults you for not being fluent in English just think of Sis' Ribs.
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