Jabu knew he was very sick but still performed

Patience Bambalele

Patience Bambalele

Despite his celebrity status, only a relatively small number of mourners have visited the late Jabu Khanyile's Soweto home.

When Sowetan visited his home in Extension 3, Dobsonville, mourners were trickling in in drips and drabs and Khanyile's black BMW, registration Jabu K, parked outside the house, was one of the few reminders of his existence.

Sowetan journalists were initially prevented from entering the property by guards at the gate who said that Khululiwe Sithole, the singer's second wife, would not see them.

"You can only get a comment or interview from Lindelani [Mkhize, his spokesman]," the guards said.

One of few artists who popularised Afro-pop, Khanyile died after a long battle with illness.

Some of the musicians who have visited Khanyile's home so far include Mzwakhe Mbuli, Vicky Vilakazi, Nozipho Nguza and Steve Kekana.

Most of Khanyile's fellow musicians have lauded his dedication to his work.

Steve Kekana said: "Jabu was very close to me. He was like a brother to me.

"I knew him while he was still playing drums. He was a dedicated person who enjoyed his freedom when working in the studio. He did not mind staying the whole night as long he got the work done."

Gospel singer Vicky Vilakazi said: "I admire the strong character he had. He knew that he was sick, but he performed in events.

"That alone showed his dedication to his work."

Nozipho Nguse, Khanyile's backing vocalist, said that with his death, the music industry had lost a valuable person.

"We learnt a lot from him.

"He was very disciplined and he preached it. He took his job very seriously," Nguse said.

The Creative Workers Union of South Africa said: "Jabu never forgot the importance of indigenous languages.

"He promoted cultural diversity and our languages through his performances with Bayethe," the organisation said.

"As a person who composed relevant songs for our times, all these contributed immensely to the excitement of fans and nation building at large."