17/05/2017 07:12 SAST | Updated 27/05/2017 22:10 SAST

If You Don't Know, Here's Why Rebecca Malope's Sama Lifetime Achiever Award Was A Long Time Coming

The 49-year-old has 36 albums under her belt.

Rebecca Malope performs at the New Orleans Jazz Festival in the US.
David Redfern/Getty Images
Rebecca Malope performs at the New Orleans Jazz Festival in the US.

Come May 27, Batsogile Lovederia Malope will be presented with a Lifetime Achievement award at the 23rd installment of the South African Music Awards in Sun City.

Known professionally as Rebecca Malope will receive the award with two other veteran artists, Don Laka and Babsy Mlangeni.

Over the years that she's been in the industry, Malope stunned with her unmatched voice, fashion sense and often her dance moves.

The 49-year-old started her music career in 1987 when she won the Shell Road to Fame competition.

Malope, who was born in KaNyamazane, outside Nelspruit in Mpumalanga, has been vocal about the hardships of her upbringing.

She seldom talks about her experience growing up on a farm, in a home with an abusive father who, at some point attempted to kill her mother.

Moving from her home to Johannesburg in 1984, Malope and her sister, Cynthia, had to hitchhike.

In 1992, her full gospel album "Rebecca Sings Gospel" was well received by music critics, media and fans.

The album, which was played alongside mainstream music, sold over one million copies and is regarded as one of best gospel albums of all time in South Africa.

During her early days in music, Malope collaborated with Sizwe Zakho, Vuyo Mokoena and Jabu Nkabinde.

To date, Malope has released 36 albums.

Some of her career highlights include a performance during the historic inauguration of Nelson Mandela in 1994, and a performance at the Pretoria State Theatre in 1995.

In 2003, she received an honorary doctorate from the then University of KwaZulu-Natal for her contribution to music. She lost her mother to illness in the same year.

Also in 2003, she won the Kora Award for Best Gospel Singer in December.

Malope has won multiple Samas and her music has taken her all over Africa, the US and Europe, filling up venues wherever she goes.

Affectionately known as Sis Ribs, Malope is known and loved for her gospel music and talk show, It's Gospel Time, which airs on SABC2.

She was a resident judge on Clash of The Choirs SA which aired on DSTV's Mzansi Magic alongside Anele Mdoda and Lindelani Mkhize.

Malope will receive her award during the event, which will be broadcast live on SABC1 from the Superbowl.