The suit that Sfiso died before wearing
By Munashe Rungano
Singer Sfiso Ncwane’s death is a great loss for many, but perhaps designer and Elephants Ambassador Thembani Mubochwa is most hurt.
Mubochwa who was one of Ncwane’s designers had been tasked with designing a suit for the artiste which he was due to wear Friday at the Permican Awards in Harare where he was scheduled to perform alongside Zimbabwean artiste Tatenda Mahachi.
Before Ncwane succumbed to kidney failure Monday morning he had ordered a suit with the Zimbabwean and South African flags from his designer.
“I do not know what to say of think. This is the most difficult news to deal with. He called me last week and asked me why I had left without telling him and said he would have organised a farewell with fellow artistes to appreciate my work. we had a lengthy chat and he even spoke to my three kids on the phone and also gave me an order for the suit he was to wear Friday at the awards,” said Mubochwa.
“He even jokingly asked me and Tatenda Mahachi to organise a huge convoy for him as he was the Igwe.”
Mubochwa said they were working on a memorial service for the singer before he leaves for the funeral in South Africa.
He said he owed the late singer a lot as he was responsible for ushering him into the limelight of fashion designing in Durban and South Africa as a whole being introduecd to greats like the also late Vuyo Mukoena.
“He played a crucial role in my carrier with his big heart. He managed to accommodate me and helped me clinch important deals with many of SA’s big names. He was a family man and we were so close with his wife Ayanda and the kids as he always talked about them,” he said
“Sfiso was the first South African artiste to wear my designs. I tailored his wedding suit and from then l got into business as other celebrities started showing interest in my work. What a humble man he was. l even got an opportunity to dine with him and his family not only once but on numerous occasions and considering his status; Sfiso’s humility was impeccable,” added Mubochwa.
Ncwane who breathed his last at a Johannesburg Hospital Monday morning is remembered for penning songs of hope to his legion of fans and promoting unity through his touching lyrics.
The Kulungile hit maker has been described as a family man and an out-standing pillar of hope among all deprived and challenged people as he himself was abandoned by his mother at an early age.
Despite the odds he stood out tall and became a successful musician an achievement which he was proud of until his sudden death.
Topping the list of prominent people to pay tribute to Ncwane was the South African President Jacob Zuma. He said Ncwane’s death was a massive loss as he had touched millions of hearts through his music
Ncwane who was billed to perform at the United Family International Church organised Permican awards Friday has been described by gospel singer Mahachi as larger than life and an outstanding figure with a big heart.
Mahachi, who has collaborated with Ncwane said his death was a huge loss to the industry.
“To me he was more than a friend but a humble soul. He was more than a brother and my inspiration as his hard work always paid dividends with blockbuster hits,” he said.
Mahachi said he last spoke with the SA gospel singer on Saturday when he told him that he was not feeling well but still insisted he would be in Harare Friday for the awards.
“Apart from music we could share aspects of life. I had grown to view him as my personal advisor as we grew closer daily. He was one person who was not ashamed of his past. He would open up to everything and help you overcome whatever challenges you might be facing,” Mahachi said.
“A very talented man he was. l remember at our first meeting at the Crown Gospel Awards l requested we do a duet together and the very same night we were in the studio doing a song. He was focused and hard-working something which l also learnt and adopted from him. l honestly can’t believe Sfiso is gone.”
Mahachi is also a nominee at the Permican Awards for the best male accolade.
Also joining into mourning was Mzansi Arts minister Nathi Mthetwa who described the musicians record breaking hit kulungile not only as a best seller but a song which helped and healed people facing trials and tribulations.
“Our condolences to the Ncwane family of gospel music legend Sfiso Ncwane, whose remarkable contribution will forever be cherished,” said Mthetwa on Twitter.
Responding to the SA minister’s tweet Zimbabwean protest artiste and Progressive Teachers’ Union secretary general Raymond Majongwe said Ncwane’s death was a huge loss.
Ncwane was raised in Durban by his aunt after his mother abandoned him at only two weeks.
During the mid 90s he started playing musical instruments which opened doors for him into the industry.
His debut album was Vula Masango (Open Doors), but it was his album Baba Ngiyavhuma which carried the hit song Phakama Nkosi Ye Zulu which took the industry by storm in 2009.
In 2011 the award winning artist made a huge impact with his hit Kulungile Baba which went multi-platinum and winning the best award at the SAMA Awards for record of the year and a London based gospel AGMA award.
Burial arrangements will be announced in due course.