US star ‘brings it on’ in Durbs

2010-12-12 10:57

Hollywood star Gabrielle Union jetted into Durban this week for a short visit in her role as United Nations breast cancer ambassador.

She paid a visit to the family of maskanda legend Busi Mhlongo, who died as a result of the disease earlier this year.

Union was accompanied on the visit to Mhlongo’s home in Ntuzuma by President Jacob Zuma’s wife, Nompumelelo maNtuli-Zuma, an admirer of Mhlongo.

Union, the star of Bring It On and Bad Boys II, also spent time as a guest of theatre project K-Cap in KwaMashu township, where she met youngsters involved in K-Cap’s youth projects. They came out in numbers to see her.

Union spent almost two days with the young people, advising them on breast cancer and the ­entertainment industry, and she watched a performance of their play, Madame President.

During Friday’s visit Union met Mhlongo’s sister, Janet Khumalo, and her niece, Thokozani Poswa, and spoke about Mhlongo’s long battle with the breast cancer that claimed her life in June.

Union said: “I feel very happy to meet with Busi’s family. They are warm and I feel like I am home.”

New Orleans-based jazz musician Damon Batiste, who was also with Union during the visit, vowed to build a museum to commemorate the Queen of Maskanda.

Batiste said he wanted to put ­Mhlongo on the map, so ­Americans would be able to learn more about her.

“We want people to know more about her role and her ­achievements. My daughters ­really loved her music and I want to build a place where they can have access to it,” said Batiste.

Khumalo, Mhlongo’s sister, was pleased at the idea of bringing back good memories of her late ­sister.

She said: “I don’t know what to say. I just feel the blessing and tears in my eyes. Busi was such a lovely sister and when she passed on I was very hurt. I still can’t ­believe she is gone for good.”

MaNtuli sympathised with the family over their loss: “I used to go to her shows. She was such a warm person, loving and strong. Her legacy will stay forever,” she said.

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