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Women of Joy

Most singers dream. They dream about many things. They dream about making records. They dream about making money. They dream about singing for thousands of people.

In 1977 a new show came to Johannesburg. Many singers wanted to sing in the show. Three beautiful young singers also heard about the show. They did not know each other. But they each had their own dreams.

The three young singers met each other. They spoke about many things. They found out many things about each other. They found out their dreams were the same. They decided to work together. ”Joy” was born.

Joy’s first hit song was ‘Ain’t Gonna Stop Till I Get To The Top’. And the Joy has not stopped. They have had more hit songs. Their dreams are coming true. Who are the singers in ‘Joy’? Their names are Thoko Ndlozi, Felicia Marion and Annaline Malebo. They each have their own story.

Thoko’s story

Thoko Ndlozi was born in Newclare, Johannesburg 36 years ago. Her mother was a housewife. Her father was a policeman. She went to school in Crown Mines and Soweto.

Thoko has always loved music. She sang at school concerts in Crown Mines. ” We always wore paper skirts at the concerts,” says Thoko. “Our mothers made the skirts for us. The skirts were green, red or yellow. But before the concerts, the rain always came. The rain made the colour run from our skirts.

So we went home with red, green or yellow underwear.”

Thoko left High School after one year. She leh school to sing in a show. When the show finished, she sang in some plays by Oswald Msimango and Gibson Kente. She enjoyed singing in the plays. But she wanted to sing in a group.

In 1971 Thoko and some friends started a group. They called the group the ‘Sweethearts of Soul’. Thoko sang with this group in Zambia and Zimbabwe. The group broke up after they came home.

Then she sang at the Pelican in Soweto. And then she sang in Swaziland and Maputo. She came home. She sang in more shows. She was singing a lot. But her dreams were not coming true. Then she met Felicia and Anneline …..

Felicia’s story

Felicia Marion was born in Pietermaritzburg 27 years ago. Her mother was a house­wife. Her father worked in a gym. He sang in his spare time.

“I started singing with my father, ” says Felicia. “I sang with him at the ‘Mr Pietermaritzburg Competition’ every year. At the Pietermaritzburg competition they choose the man with the biggest muscles. I was always shy. But my father was a darling. He always helped me along.”

Felicia joined her first group when she was 14 years old. “The group was called ‘4/5’, ” says Felicia. “We called the group ‘4/5’ because sometimes we had four members and sometimes we had five members. The group didn’t last very long.”

Felicia left school in standard nine. She went to Johannesburg for a weekend -and she didn’t go home. She worked at an office in the day. At night she sang in a hotel.

Felicia then got a job at the Pelican in Soweto. She sang there for two years. Then she sang with a band called ‘Spirits Rejoice’. She enjoyed singing with this band. But her dreams were not coming true. Then she met Thoko and Annaline ……

Anneline’s story

Anneline Malebo. was born in Gugulethu, Cape Town 29 years ago. Her mother was a domestic worker. Her father was a builder. Both her parents sang in the church choir. Annaline did not like school. She wanted to sing. She left school and joined a singing group called ‘Flamingo’. She did not stay with ‘Flamingo’ for very long.

Annaline went to work in a plastic factory. She made plastic cups. The work was boring. Annaline dreamed of singing. She took some leave after a year -and she never went back. She got a show in Port Elizabeth. The show was called the ‘Annaline Show’. Then Annaline sang in another show in Cape Town. She went with the show to Johannesburg. She did not go back to Cape Town with the show. She stayed in Johannesburg. She sang at the Pelican in Soweto.

In 1975 she sang with the Staple Sisters in Soweto. ” After this show I joined a record company,” says Annaline. “My first record was called ‘Lets live Together’. Very few people bought my record.” Her dreams were not coming true. Then she met Thoko and Felicia …..

So Annaline, Thoko and Felicia have their own stories. They had their own dreams. Those days are over. Now they share the same dreams. And they are part of the same story -the story of ‘Joy’. The story still has a long way to go.


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