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Memorial service for #RobbieMalinga

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Hundreds of friends, family and fans are expected to gather at the Grace Bible Church to remember and celebrate the life of music legend Robbie Malinga.

SA Afro-pop star Robbie Malinga Picture: Instagram

Johannesburg – Hundreds of friends, family and fans are expected to gather at the Grace Bible Church to remember and celebrate the life of music legend Robbie Malinga.

The 47-year-old music producer passed away on Christmas Day after suffering from a year-long battle with pancreatic cancer. 

Malinga’s father Coleman Mgogodlo told The Star that his son was a jolly person who loved the company of others. 

“He loved people but he was exactly like me, he was a class man,” said Mgogodlo. 

Many local artists who were under the musical wing of Malinga were devastated to find out that the music legend had died. 

The funeral of the music legend will take place on Tuesday at the Rhema Bible Church and he will be laid to rest at the West Park Cemetery Heroes Acres. 

REMEMBERING THE MAN WITH THE MIDAS TOUCH

Afro-pop architect and pioneer, that was Robbie Malinga. But the legacy of the singer-songwriter and producer extends well beyond this  title. 

After a battle with pancreatic cancer and at just 47-years-old, Malinga died at his Dainfern home on Christmas Day.

“I wish I could go and beat him up and wake him,” singer Zahara said through tears. “You don’t understand, he has been a father to me.”

Malinga met Zahara in 2010. That year, the world’s eyes were on South Africa playing host to the Fifa World Cup.

But the man who had a hand in discovering artists Ntando and Malaika, as well as producing acts such as Kelly Khumalo, Brown Dash, Naima Kay and Musa, had his Midas touch aimed at someone else.

“We met at Sis Nhlanhla’s (Nciza, of Mafikizolo fame) DVD recording in August 2010,” Zahara said. “After I performed Loliwe, he came backstage and told me I’m going to be a star. He was wearing shades, a black suit and a white shirt, I remember it well. Since that day, he became like a father to me.”

Together with long-time collaborator Mojalefa “Mjakes” Thebe, Malinga produced Zahara’s multi-award-winning, top-selling debut album Loliwe. Zahara’s song Bengirongo featured on Malinga’s collaborative album The Duets, recorded last year. 

Like most of music giant’s hits, it was music with a message: to be accountable for your wrongs.

But it also carried his signature sense of humour. “Every time I was with Ta Robs, he’d be joking around,” Zahara recalled. 

“We were at the studio and Cheaters was playing on TV. We were talking about people who like to be with their friends even if they are not cheating, and that’s how the idea of the song came about.”

Bengirongo was just one of many hit singles that bore Malinga’s name.

An entire sub-genre was made richer by Malinga’s compositions. In the early 1990s, he first stepped onto the music scene as Freddie Gwala’s keyboard player. But Malinga outlived the bubblegum genre.

In 1998, when kwaito was in its zenith, Malinga became known by the title of his solo hit album, Insimbi.

Tributes to Robbie Malinga on Twitter.

He went on to form a duo with Doc Shebeleza. Together, they were known as RoboDoc in 1999. In the 2000s, Malinga formed a close partnership with TS Records and helped craft songs for Ntando.

He brought a traditional yet seductive masculine energy to what was the trope of wedding songs which Afro-pop had become known for. 

He subsequently left TS Records and, like the phoenix, he rose to release his album African Love Story in 2011.

That was also the year he celebrated 20 years in the music industry.

After his Idols SA win, Musa Sukwene was catapulted to stardom when Malinga wrote and appeared in Sukwene’s smash-hit Mthande last year.

Sukwene was helping the Malingas with funeral arrangements and was unable to comment.

Malinga released his eponymous album last month. 

It carried a fusion of the Afro-pop he was loved for and the Afro-beats he was intrigued by.

He was aiming for a continental reach that would match the outstretched hands of fans he had amassed across Africa.

If there is anything we should learn from Malinga’s illustrious life and career, it’s what Zahara sums up: “He lived his life the way he wanted to live his life. That’s why I also had the courage to do the same. He did exactly what he came to this world to do: music.”

Malinga is survived by his wife Ann, children and multitudes of musicians and fans.

@Zwane_2li2ls