JOHANNESBURG – Fans cheered, danced and sang along to Mandoza’s hits Nkalakatha and Godoba at Ellis Park as they waited for speakers to take the stage to pay tribute to the kwaito star.
Programme director Kabelo Mabalane was the first to do so.
“Ladies and gentleman, thank you for your enthusiasm,” he opened. As the crowd continued to cheer.
He welcomed luminaries, including the Minister of Arts and Culture, friends, family and “Mdu’s favourite – the fans”.
“Never in my wildest dreams did I think or imagine that when Mdu asked me over a decade ago to be best man at his wedding, that I would be the MC at his memorial service.
“I’ve lost my father, family members and a few mates over my relatively short life – but no death has shook me more than Mdu’s death. No death has further emphasised the fact that we are all visitors on this planet,” he said.
“Mpho, Mdu was because you are. He said many times that if it wasn’t because of the woman you are, he would have been ‘finished’ a long time ago.
“To Tokollo, Tumelo and Karabo, your father was very proud of you,“ he said, adding that it was that very pride that inspired him to one day have a family of his own.
Not sidestepping the troubled areas of Mandoza’s life, he mentioned his determination to move past his mistakes and “challenges”.
“He didn’t take it lying down because he always strived to be a better man, a better husband and a better father.”
He added: “Through Mdu’s life, I learned the principle of failing forward.”
As friends they were “were very naughty” he added, alluding to the behaviour that had “many consequences” in each of their lives. These include Mandoza’s time spent in prison – and Kabelo’s own struggle with drug addiction, among other troubled times.
Mdu loved saying, “Do your best, God will do the rest.”
He went on to quote lyrics from the iconic Frank Sinatra song ‘My Way’ – which he felt summed up Mdu’s life.
Another touching moment was the gratitude the star’s sisters showed at the overwhelming show of love for their beloved brother.
“Today is a beautiful day,” not because of what has happened… I can’t describe to you what I’m feeling right now – but what I can say is that we are feeling it with the world,” she said, expressing a sens of “family” with those who had rallied around the family and shown love for Mandoza.
She continued: “I’ve seen people being passionate about his music. You (feel that) you just have extra brothers from another mother.
He has brought greatness into our family,” she said proudly.