South African kwaito legends reunited to celebrate and honour the life of fellow musician Mduduzi “Mandoza” Tshabalala at a public memorial service on Wednesday.
On Sunday, Tshabalala lost his year-long battle to brain cancer following a brain tumour diagnosis that had affected his sight and severely blurred his vision.
The public memorial service was held at the Ellis Park Arena and saw the hitmaker’s fans come out in numbers in celebration of the star and in support of his friends and family.
Also in attendance were many fellow kwaito musicians, some of whom had been out of the music industry for years but had previously collaborated and shared a stage with the Nkalakatha singer.
These included legendary kwaito artist Mduduzi “Mdu” Masilela, record label owner and Kwaito musician Arthur Mafokate and musician, actor and memorial service programme director Kabelo “Bouga Luv” Mabalane.
Fellow Kwaito artist Sipho “Brickz” Ndlovu made an impromptu appearance on stage and called other legends of the popular music genre on stage to celebrate the loss of a kwaito hero and to stand in solidarity with other kwaito musicians.
Ndlovu came out of hiding after disappearing from the public eye following rape accusations in 2013.
“It was a proud moment. It was a moment where I was saying to my brother, rest in peace. I won’t feel ashamed of jumping on stage and celebrating him because that is what he taught me. He taught me to have courage and to not be afraid of crowds.
“I’m here as a proud South African, a proud kwaito musician and I’m saying that Mandoza’s legacy and the legacy of kwaito music will not die,” said Ndlovu.
Speaking at the memorial service, Musicians Association of South Africa (Masa) president Tebogo Sithathu also assured that the genre that produced music legends such as Mandoza would continue to live on.
“Kwaito will never die. What we need to do is rally behind established and upcoming kwaito artists to keep the genre alive,” said Sithathu. “It is a genre we should be proud of because it is proudly South African. As we innovate with other genres and collaborate, we need to ensure we keep the spirit of kwaito alive.”
Mandoza will be remembered for his impactful music and meaningful lyrics.
His music brought people of different backgrounds together, with his groundbreaking hit Nkalakatha being coined as the “rainbow nation anthem”.
Funeral details have yet to be confirmed.