Melvin Nortje, the drummer for Dr Victor and the Rasta Rebels, passed away on Thursday.
MELVIN NORTJE, 63, the drummer for Dr Victor & The Rasta Rebels, lost his battle with Covid-19 on Thursday, February 10.
Nortje, who is originally from Kimberley, died in the Charlotte Maxeke hospital, Johannesburg, where he was admitted on January 13, at around 3pm.
He moved to Johannesburg 40 years ago to pursue his music career.
According to the family, Nortje tested positive for Covid-19 on January 11 due to underlying conditions associated with lymphoma(cancer) which was detected back in 2017.
Messages of condolences started pouring in for the family as reggae fans expressed how the Northern Cape and South African music industry has suffered a great loss.
Nortje was not only recognised as a talented drummer and singer, but also as one of the members of the legendary CC Riders Motorcycle Club Kimberley.
Many knew him as a loving and caring husband, father and kind-hearted man who continued to push to put the interest of his hometown on the market.
His older sister, Claudine Simons, indicated that he did not allow Covid-19 to stop him from fulfilling his love for music regardless of being unable to perform at events.
“We are heartbroken to have lost such a beautiful personality. But we will always miss him through the legacy that he has left behind.
“He was full of life, love and laughter. We were talking to him everyday, including through video calls because we could not visit him in hospital.
“He continued to make recordings during the lockdown period, which we believe he wanted to leave us with,” said Simons.
Fellow founder member of Dr Victor & The Rasta Rebels, Victor Khojane, said the loss of Nortje “is like a knife in my heart”.
Khojane described Nortje as his pillar of strength because of his willingness to go the extra mile for the band.
“It is heartbreaking to accept that he could not be among the few that makes it back home due to Covid-19,” he said.
Khojane said that he met Nortje for the first time in 1979 while they were playing for different bands in Kimberley.
According to him, they started working together two years later after Nortje joined his band called ‘The Young Ones’, which they later changed to ‘CC Beat’.
“We relocated to Johannesburg 20 years later to pursue growth and we changed the band name to ‘Dr Victor & The Rasta Rebels’ in 1996.
“We parted ways for a time while in Johannesburg but found each other again in 2006, before he was diagnosed with lymphoma,” said Khojane.
Khojane said Nortje was a gentle giant, goal-driven, a team player and would never make a negative comment about anyone.
He said Nortje loved life and his music, which allowed him to tour the world.
He believes that Nortje’s condition was partly worsened by the Covid-19 lockdown frustrations which prevented him from earning an income and providing for his family.
“I wouldn’t be here if it was not for him.
“We were communicating on a daily basis while he was in hospital. He even requested me not to replace him in the band as he will be released soon.
He told me that he was going to be placed on a ventilator as the oxygen did not seem to be improving his breathing. But he was confident that he would return home.”