all he wanted was a naartjie

Gugu Sibiya

Gugu Sibiya

Jabu Ndaba's last request was for "a naartjie, sweets and Tropica", Malaika's lead vocalist, Tshedi Mholo, told Sowetan yesterday.

"The last time I saw Jabu was last week Sunday. He was in tears when he called me and Bongani [Nchang, the other band member] to come and visit him in hospital.

"Unfortunately, Bongani could not go so I drove alone and got there late at night," Mholo said.

When she got to the hospital, Ndaba was "excited, taking photos and introducing me around".

"He said he was missing work and assured me he was coming back to work soon.

"At the rate he was making a noise, he seemed to be in really high spirits," she said.

Ndaba insisted that the nurses shouldn't chase her away because she "didn't have a bomb".

"Jabu was so handsome, smooth and his complexion was light."

Mholo recalled the band's trip to Australia last February.

"He loved performing but although he tried, it was tough. All his actions were for the Malaika he loved so much and the protection of the brand.

"He was passionate and hardworking. When we were not on tour, he would be in the studio composing and playing the music for us while driving. He called me Jembe because of my love for jembe drum music."

Mholo said that when she learnt on Sunday that Ndaba, who died on Monday, could no longer talk or breath on his own, she was devastated and shocked.

"He came from a large, close-knit group of family and neighbourhood friends in Klerksdorp," Mholo, who grew up with Ndaba and was baptised by his grandfather, said.

"Knowing and working with Jabu was a blessing."

Together for five years, the band released three albums, Malaika, Vuthelani and Sekunjalo , and scooped nine awards.

A memorial service will be held at the Newtown hall, Newtown, tomorrow, at noon.