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'How I defied death' - Robbie Malinga

Robbie Malinga celebrated his birthday yesterday. / LESLEY MOFOKENG
Robbie Malinga celebrated his birthday yesterday. / LESLEY MOFOKENG

Music hitmaker Robbie Malinga has fought back from a life-threatening illness.

Speaking to Sowetan yesterday on the occasion of his 47th birthday, Malinga said he had been scared of dying but was fuelled by the will to survive.

"I was scared for my kids man. My kids are so spoiled I make sure that I do everything for them. My wife as well, she's still young to have her husband die ... my fans. It was scary but I'm a strong person, I am a believer.

"When I first heard that I have this disease last December I had just come back from France and I was scared. You know how doctors are, they would scare you, 'if you don't do this or that' and 'let's buy time' those terms they use ... so I asked, 'why are we buying time, am I dying?'

"I have anaemia, my body couldn't pump blood anymore, it had to do with the liver."

Malinga said he was in hospital for a month and sought second opinion at another one and his condition improved greatly.

"I'm awake now, I'm good. I'm ready to rock and roll. I've got gigs until January 19."

Malinga lamented how his illness was turned into a "joke" on social media.

"It became a joke. People are mean out there. I had lost weight more than this and on social networks they were saying I'm the face of Bio-Slim, it was the funniest thing, I even laughed. People are mean.

"There are lots of kids on social networks, 16 or 17 year-olds, and for them it's a joke, and it's not a joke. But kids will be kids."

Malinga, who has a string of hit singles and albums and awards to his credit, is on the brink of releasing a new self-titled album next week with pre-orders opening tomorrow.

The first single Nowayo, featuring Nigerian Hugo Flow, is gaining some great airtime on radio. Last year he announced that he was retiring from music but all that has changed.

"The demand from the people on social media and when they meet me at malls and at gigs convinced me to record again. I started performing late in my career after years as a producer and songwriter. I then had a different life ... performer, producer and singer."

Malinga said it was too soon to hang up the microphone because his fans were only starting to enjoy his music now.

"And after the illness I felt it would be unfair to people when I still have so much to offer them, so sitting alone at home, I went back to studio to write new material ...

"Releasing this album is partly an act of defiance to the illness. I'm not thinking about the disease too much. You don't want to talk or think illness too much, it will kill you."

Malinga said he attended treatment once or twice a month. "... obviously when you've survived a bad illness like this you have to always make sure that you're okay."

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