Ilonka Deaton grew up in South Africa, and her journey led her to the U.S. to devote her life and voice to ministry. Held in a sexual slavery bondage in South Africa for five years through the threat of her and her family’s life, she is now rescued, redeemed and set free. Ilonka is a healthy, full of life, complete woman in Jesus Christ. She sings and speaks to audiences across the US to encourage them through the love of Jesus Christ and to remind them that their stories matter. Her inspiring message is one of victorious life, freedom, tears, laughter, and hope for any wounded heart.
Ilonka has performed worldwide as well as collaborating and performing on projects for the past 14 years in the US with Michael W. Smith, Rebecca St. James, Paul Coleman, and Phil Keaggy, just to name a few. She has also served as a member of the Worship Team at Franklin First United Methodist Church in Franklin, Tennessee. She has recorded 11 studio albums, the latest being “To Be Loved” for the Naxos Record Label.
Ilonka has authored 2 books: “Keeping Secrets,” an autobiography of her story, and “Secret Freedom,” a guided help-book for anyone who wants to share their own story. She is currently working on a co-authored 3rd book with her brother, Jaco Booyens, about Human Trafficking.
Ilonka graduated in 2013 from Light University's Biblical Counseling Degree Program. In 2014 Ilonka founded Hope Holders 4 Teens, an interactive middle and high-school assembly that helps teenagers deal with depression, anxiety, suicidal thoughts, anger, cutting, and bullying. She believes that every teenager deserves help.
For the past several years, Ilonka has worked with organizations such as Share, World Vision, Women At Risk, Int. (WAR), Crisis Aid International, Bethany Christian Services, and The Hope Line as an artist and speaker. Ilonka has also publicly shared the power and love of Jesus Christ on multiple Christian Television Programs with her testimony and music.
Ilonka lives in Nashville TN and is married to Bill Deaton. They have two lovely children Ialia and Elijah, and fur baby Zola.