Flat Fassie fumbles

2014-05-11 15:00

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It was too late for Bongani Fassie on Friday night as he mangled a live performance of his mother Brenda’s iconic hit, Too Late For Mama.

The troubled 30-year-old singer was kicking off the Brenda Fassie Legacy Tour 10 years to the day after his mother’s death rocked South Africa.

Fassie performed the emotional 1991 classic on SABC1’s Live Amp – and the studio audience cringed as he struggled to hit the high notes and sang off key.

Luckily, the younger Fassie – who, like his late mother has allegedly struggled with drug addiction and in 2010 revealed in court papers he had tried to kill himself – redeemed himself later with a stirring rendition of Memeza alongside Vusi Nova.

He was also an excellent host, welcoming guests to the Urban Brew studios in Randburg, Joburg, with an easy smile.

Revellers, snacking on chicken and beef skewers, took to the dance floor and forgot about Bongani’s subpar rendition of Too Late for Mama.

The soundtrack consisted of retro kwaito music and some of MaBrr’s greatest hits.

On Friday night, Bongani tweeted: “No words can describe how you all make me feel. Thank you all for the support and the love you have shown to my family and I. God bless.”

It was a big week for Brenda’s fans, friends and family as the songstress was remembered a decade after her sudden death at the age of just 39.

The Madonna of the Townships, as Fassie was nicknamed by Time magazine, died on May 9 2004 after collapsing at her Buccleuch home two weeks earlier.

Before Friday night’s party, there had been mutterings of a rift between Bongani Fassie and journalist Bongani Madondo, who has written a book about the pop diva called I’m Not Your Weekend Special.

The younger Fassie did not pitch up at Madondo’s book launch on Thursday night, but the author posed alongside the singer on Friday and the pair even hinted at future collaborations.

Fassie said his culture did not allow youngsters to hold grudges against their elders, and dismissed suggestions of a “beef”.

Music and film producer Sello “Chicco” Twala and Ghetto Ruff boss and music manager Lance Stehr were also there to “support and help” Bongani “realise his dream of honouring his mother’s legacy”.

Fassie and Stehr have had a famously rocky relationship, which even saw Fassie arrested and charged with theft (Stehr accused him and two friends of stealing music equipment worth R650?000 in November 2009 from the Ghetto Ruff music studios in Parkview, Joburg).

But Stehr was firmly on Fassie’s side on Friday night. He told City Press he had “nothing new to learn nor a point to prove” to anyone, and said it was up to the youth to “learn from their own mistakes”.

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