Patience Bambalele

Patience Bambalele

Hailed promoter Arabi Mocheke is no more.

Born in 1957 in Musina, Limpopo, Mocheke became ill late last year during his annual Soweto Arts Festival in Soweto.

He died yesterday afternoon at his home in Johannesburg after a long struggle with prostrate cancer.

His death has shocked many in the entertainment industry.

Mocheke's passion for arts started in the early 1990s. It was not long before he landed a job as manager of Kippies International Jazz Club, Newtown.

He then became a manager of jazz group Malombo.

Seven years ago, Mocheke launched the Soweto Arts Festival with an aim of developing the arts in the township.

Since then, the festival has grown to become one of the highlights of the entertainment calendar. When he realised that his dream was accomplished, Mocheke founded the Limpopo Festival.

Promoter Morris Roda told Sowetan yesterday that the death of Mocheke has left a big void in the industry. Roda said Mocheke was a true activist of the arts and music industry.

"To Arabi it was not always about the money, it was about developing the arts," he said.

Sipho Mabuse, a celebrated singer, said it was a great loss to the industry. "Arabi was one of the few promoters who developed young talent," Mabuse said.

Jazz singer and producer Selaelo Selota said he worked with Mocheke in December during the Soweto Arts Festival.

"He gave us a platform to showcase our talent."

Mocheke is survived by his two sons and a grandson.