death robs many fans

Edward Tsumele

Edward Tsumele

Like several of his fans, friends, family and colleagues, everyone has a story to tell about how the music of policeman-turned-Afro pop music star Maruti Johannes Nkuna, popularly known as Umanji, has touched them.

I was touched by Umanji's music the moment I laid my hands on his intellectual creations, his CDs.

I remember those nights when my friend and I would decide to have mini-parties in my tiny apartment in Auckland Park. We would dance to Umanji's music - song after song - and never got tired. His music was such that you would listen to it and just fall in love with his voice.

So my friend and I were not that crazy to have a mini-party of two people at home on a hectic Friday when everybody was out there with the crowd. I remember very well how Moloi, his debut album, became part of my life on Fridays for several years.

Umanji was one of those musicians who could sing in Sepedi and Shangaan and yet sound as if he was a West African musician.

I remember after seeing some West African musicians in some dingy Paris club in 2000 sending the French crazy with their sound and how I thought Umanji could easily beat them at their game.

The musician eventually succumbed to an Aids-related ailment two weeks ago at Zebediela Hospital in Limpopo.

He disclosed the nature of his disease last year after he had been in and out of hospital for sometime, and when he became increasingly absent from the music scene. Following his demise, it is understandable why so many of his colleagues and fans feel robbed.

Umanji will be buried tomorrow at Mogoto Mathibe Cemetery in Zebediela, Limpopo, at 9am. The service will be held at Moletlane Tribal Hall from 7am.