South African gospel music icons Rebecca Malope, Deborah Fraser, Abanqobi Gospel Group, Sipho Makhabane, Hlengiwe Mhlaba paid their respects at the burial of one of the members of the platinum selling gospel group Avante, Siphiwe Khanyile. Hundreds of fans also turned up.
He was laid to rest at his home in KwaMashu just outside Durban.
Khanyile, 38, died at King Edward VIII hospital, Durban, after a short illness early this month.
He together with Bongani Ngcobo, Linda Gcwensa, James Langa and Lucky Cele turned Avante into one of the country’s most beloved gospel groups.
However, he died penniless and was buried by the Creative Workers Union of South Africa (CWUSA).
The union’s KwaZulu-Natal spokesperson, Kwaito hitmaker T’zozo, said the union, through sponsorship, funded Khanyile’s entire burial.
“We got the funeral services to provide their services for free, we also managed to get the catering services for free,” he said.
Khanyile, who was not married, leaves behind one child, 11 brothers and one sister.
Another member Bongani Ngcobo died in 2004 and James Langa was attacked and shot in the thigh by thugs at KwaMashu station late last year.
Langa made a fervent effort yesterday to pay tribute to his fellow band member when he took to the stage on crutches.
Despite the group’s fame after having successfully sold 11 CD’s, Khanyile died without a burial policy.
“We want to stop this. We are running workshops for artists that will teach them financial management, tender procurement training and life skills training to prevent situations where artists die without a cent,” said Malinga.