Obituary: Saying peace out to a humble Brown Dash

2012-05-12 16:36

It must have been his humble nature, or his genuine affinity with ekasi, that made Brown Dash a likeable fellow.

In 2002, when he appeared on the scene kitted out in the typical township kwaito star look of a green prison warder jersey, khaki shirt, Dickies chinos, All Stars and a tilted woollen skully, the boy from Zola, Soweto, made his presence felt.

Brown (real name Siphiwe Mpamile) was spotted by TS Records’ boss, TK Nciza, when he was a backing vocalist and dancer for Mapaputsi in his hit song Izinja. He also worked with kwaito outfit Amasgumfete.

When the popular mask-clad Mzekezeke became a music phenomenon with Sguqa Ngamadolo, Brown was by his side and became the “face” of their collaboration.

He stepped out on his own, but not entirely, as his debut album, Puff ’n Pass, boasted a host of kwaito talent from Mzekezeke to Zola on support. The album sold more than 25?000 copies.

Brown then went solo full throttle and released Phansi Komthunzi Welanga, which truly turned him into a star.

Nciza remembers Brown as a “very funny character, who was passionate and loved original kwaito sound with all his heart”. He also loved gospel music as he was spiritual – as much as the township boy in him loved munching kota.

In 2007, he cut ties with TS Records, and two years later released Back2Kasi, which didn’t perform to expectations.

It is believed that he was recording material for a new album, of which at least 10 songs had been completed.

Brown inspired a generation with his rags-to-riches story. At the time of his death, he reportedly lived in a commune in Melville, Joburg.

He will be remembered by friends for his favourite saying, “Sizoba grand, sizo bamnandi” (We will be okay). His wife, Lunga, died last year. He leaves behind two sons and a daughter. He was 33.

The family spokesperson declined to provide Brown’s biographical information, and funeral arrangements had not been finalised by the time of going to print.

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