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'Princess of Africa' to address IUPUI forum on gender-based abuse



INDIANAPOLIS — Internationally known South African singer and humanitarian Yvonne Chaka Chaka, called the “Princess of Africa” by her African fans, will take part in the Forum on Women’s Empowerment and Gender-Based Abuse on Oct. 12 at IUPUI. The forum will be in Rooms 450 A and B at the IUPUI Campus Center, 420 University Blvd.

Chaka Chaka will discuss her life in Soweto and her rise to stardom during apartheid as well as her current work as a UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador.

Chaka Chaka “is known internationally not only for her award-winning musical talent, but also for her social advocacy,” said Cynthia Prime, CEO and co-founder of Saving Orphans through Healthcare and Outreach (SOHO), a forum sponsor. “We want to use this opportunity to engage the community in a dialogue that acknowledges the existence of problems such as gender-based abuse and human trafficking, not only in Africa but in the U.S. and here in Indiana. The Zulu-language word ‘indaba’ has to do with conversing toward solutions. I hope this forum takes us another step in that direction.”

Identified as one of the 100 most influential women in Africa, Chaka Chaka rose from childhood as the daughter of a domestic worker to become a national icon of South Africa. South Africa President Nelson Mandela credited her music with helping to keep him alive during his imprisonment under apartheid.

The Women’s Empowerment and Gender-Based Abuse Forum is the first event in Chaka Chaka’s two-day Indiana visit, which will culminate at the Hope Rising Gala at the Ritz Charles, where she will be honored for her humanitarian work.

In addition to Chaka Chaka, the forum will feature author and life-recovery coach Gail Masondo and a team of experts in a dialogue on the social challenges resulting from gender-based abuse and trafficking both in Southern Africa and Indiana.

The forum agenda is:

1:30 to 2:40 p.m. Yvonne Chaka Chaka and Gail Masondo discuss Chaka Chaka’s life, rise to stardom and humanitarian work

2:45 to 3:55 p.m. Game-Changers Forum — a panel discussion and Q&A on community work addressing global issues of empowerment for women

4 to 5 p.m. Social Involvement Resource Fair with campus and community organizations

The first African woman to receive the World Economic Forum‘s Crystal Award, Chaka Chaka also is a champion for the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria. Mandela chose her as the first ambassador for his children’s fund. Chaka Chaka also has established a charity dedicated to the empowerment of women and youth, the Princess of Africa Foundation, which is allied with the ACTION global health advocacy partnership.

Masondo is a former Warner Brothers executive who went to South Africa on assignment 20 years ago. She married a fellow musician and remained in the country to become a strong voice against gender-based abuse and human trafficking. As a recovery coach, she works with both victims and perpetrators.

The forum is open to the public. Reservations for the Gala can be made at or by contacting Saving Orphans through Health Care and Outreach (SOHO) at 317-471-5954.

Sponsors of the women’s forum are Saving Orphans through Health Care and Outreach (SOHO); the IUPUI Honors College, Office of International Affairs, African Student Association, School of Public Health, School of Informatics and Computing, Kelley School of Business and Office for Women; and the Desmond Tutu Center for Peace, Reconciliation and Global Justice.