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Tribute to Jabu Khanyile, the great Afro-pop legend

By unknown | Nov 13, 2006 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

Gugu Sibiya

Gugu Sibiya

Jabu Khanyile's death at 49, has dealt the showbiz industry yet another blow.

Khanyile, who had been battling illness for a long time, died last night at a Johannesburg hospital.

One of the pioneers of Afro-pop, Khanyile had been in and out of the hospital for the past few months. Throughout this torturous journey, the singer bravely accommodated performances inside and outside the country.

Visibly ill and tired, Khanyile gave a sterling performance during the 30-year celebration of the Market Theatre in Newtown, around June this year. An organiser at the function was quoted as saying that it was difficult enough to come to terms with his haggard looks, but that it was even more difficult to watch him take breaks in between songs to catch his breath off stage.

Proving that he was not to be easily written off, Khanyile went on to perform in Germany, at the closing off ceremony of the World Cup.

Again concerns abounded about his ill health, but the dedicated singer soldiered on until escalating ill health prevented him from doing what he loved most, performing for his die-hard fans.

Born and bred in Soweto and proudly South African, Khanyile stuck to homegrown sounds when most of his peers shamelessly emulated their US counterparts.

To this day songs like Mbombela and Shosholoza, which were recorded during his days as lead singer with Bayete, remain on high rotation, having been recorded over and over again, thus proving just how timeless great music can be.

After Bayete folded Khanyile hooked up with ace producer Thapelo Khomo and pursued a brilliant solo career strewn with anthematic hits including Malo-We, Thabo, Umkhaya-Lo and Amatsheketshe.

His collaborations with established and emerging artists left his peers green with envy. He collaborated with Tu Nokwe on Ubuntu and Hashi Elimhlophe on Ungavumi, and performed a duet with Yvonne Chaka Chaka on Letta Mbulu and Caiphus Semenya's classic Ndiphendule. He also performed extensively with Salif Keita.

Tributes from shocked artists have been pouring in since news was received of Khanyile's death.


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