Another kwaito star dies penniless

2015-03-29 15:00

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Family and friends try to raise money for a fitting funeral and burial of Senyaka Kekana

At the height of his fame, he was blowing money. But upon his death, the godfather of kwaito didn’t have two cents to rub together.

Now Senyaka “Moruti wa Tsotsi” Kekana’s desperate family are trying to raise the money they need to bury him on Thursday.

Kekana’s older brother, Papa Mayisela, told City Press they were asking everyone to assist in any way they could.

“We have had people from as far away as Lesotho who want to donate money. We are even planning to open a trust fund account so we can give my brother a decent funeral,” said Mayisela. Kekana will be laid to rest at Nancefield Cemetery following the funeral service at Albertina Sisulu Hall in Orlando Gardens, Soweto, at 7am on Thursday.

Kekana’s publicist, Cino Shearer, said the response to the call for help had been positive. “Kekana’s media colleagues, the department of arts and culture and the community have offered catering, groceries and money for the funeral,” he said.

He added that popular Johannesburg jazz club Bassline had even offered its venue free of charge for the memorial service – which will be held on Tuesday at 1pm.

Kekana’s sudden death brought a premature end to his reconciliation with his 22-year-old daughter, Hanna.

Hanna, who is the spitting image of her father, said: “A few days before my father passed on, he sent me a very emotional text message telling me how much he loved and appreciated me. I responded: ‘I love you too, Daddy.’ I feel I have just lost a part of me. No one will replace my father.”

Kekana was divorced from Hanna’s mother, Shashi Motumo, in 2006.

Senyaka Kekana’s ex-wife Shashi Motumo and daughter Hanna Motumo at their Joburg home. Picture: Leon Sadiki

Motumo visited Kekana in hospital.

“We saw him suffering and felt his pain. Senyaka was a survivor,” she said.

“When I met him, he was making a lot of money but was misusing it. I encouraged him to buy property. The house in which he was living in Orlando Gardens – he bought that when we were still married,” Motumo said.

Hanna, who had been estranged from her father for a long time, said they had grown close again before he died.

“We had plans together. He used to tell me never to stop dreaming big,” she said.

Hanna said her father was a jovial person who was full of jokes. “But he did have a serious side to him.”

She said she was devastated by his death.

“Why would God take him away from me so soon?” she said.

Hanna told City Press her 12-year-old half-brother Senyaka Junior was also heartbroken. He lived with Kekana and his best friend, Bathini “Bade” Ngubane.

When Kekana was in hospital, Ngubane – Kekana’s backing vocalist – took care of Junior. Ngubane also cared for Kekana before his admission to hospital.

“I used to bath and dress him and then cook soft porridge for him, because he’d lost his appetite.”

Ngubane said he was one of the people who forced Kekana to go to hospital. “He hated hospitals. He didn’t want to go.”

Kekana delivered his “best performance” at his last appearance in Hammanskraal and Rustenburg on Valentine’s Day this year, said Ngubane. But the following day he complained of dizziness and diarrhoea.

“I saw him last Friday. He was weak and couldn’t speak clearly. But I’m glad I spent time with him,” he said.

Kekana was enormously successful in the 1980s and 1990s, with hits such as Chisa Mpama and Romeo Wan’ Nkolotoa, as well as Fong Kong when he was part of the Hunger Boyz duo with childhood friend Danny “Kamazu” Malewa.

“I was listening to Metro FM and they were playing all Senyaka’s songs. I started crying, because it’s only sinking in now that he’s gone,” Malewa said.

He described his bandmate as a good songwriter who was spontaneous. “We wrote songs together – along with kwaito group Trompies – and performed together. That’s how close we were,” Malewa said.

Kekana publicly feuded with the late Brenda Fassie, accusing her of hating amagents – youth involved in crime.

She responded with her hit Ama-Gents.

Kekana released his first album in many years in November, a 12-track offering titled I Am Back. His manager, Benny Sebiloane, told City Press Kekana seemed to have foretold his own death on Get Down. The track talks about taking kwaito musicians Mandoza and Spikiri to heaven, where he teaches them how to get down.

“Last year, we approached Senyaka to join our recording label to revive his music career – because we knew his potential,” Sebiloane said.

If you want to donate to the family, you can contact Mayisela on 073?635 2957 or Shearer on 082?362?0382

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