Candy Tsa Mandebele remembers her late son - 'It's not like losing a husband'

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Her son died 11 years ago, but the scar still feels fresh.
Her son died 11 years ago, but the scar still feels fresh.

She is one of the most colourful and energetic singers in the country who represents the Khelobedu people.

Actress and singer Candy Tsa Mandebele Mokwena recently celebrated the birthday of her late son Phetole, who died 11 years ago in a car accident. On his birthday, Candy wished him a heavenly birthday.

“On this day 13 January 1987 my Prince was born. May your soul Rest In perfect Peace son,” she wrote on social media. 

“Your daughter our first Princess, Sehlora Alicia, your photocopy now, was five months old when you left us in this world. She will be turning 11 on 15 March 2022. While a little piece of my heart went to heaven along with you, I smile through the tears and heartache. You, my sweet son, brought me so much happiness in your short time here. Your little princess, family, and your friends wish you a happy heavenly birthday son. If anyone asks how I feel right now, I'll definitely say I'm okay and knowing that you're safe in God's kingdom.”

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Candy tells Drum that she has taken her granddaughter to visit her father’s gravesite. 

“Children talk, and I would not want my grandchild to not know what happened to her father. So, this past December, I took her to see where her father is resting. It would not make sense for her to hear from children on the street. In 2017, I bought a new house and she asked if one of the rooms is for her father, and I had to explain. She understands that her father is not coming back.” 

To celebrate her late son’s birthday, she lit a candle and had a prayer with family and friends. 

“I was working on his birthday, but I held a prayer with friends, we talked about him and some of the things he used to do. I got great support from people on social media. I couldn’t reply to many people.” 

It’s been 11 years since he passed away in a hit-and-run car accident, but the pain still feels like it was yesterday. 

“It still feels fresh. Losing a child is not like losing a man or a husband where you know death will do you apart. It’s impossible to let go. It’s a lifetime thing. I had two boys, but now I’m left with the last born and a photocopy of the first-born son,” she says.

“At least he left me a very smart and kind granddaughter who looks exactly like him.” 

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In a previous interview, Candy shared with Drum how badly affected she was by Covid-19 and how without bookings, her money slowly fizzled away and she almost lost her home in Johannesburg.

She was forced to think outside the box and moved back to her 93-year-old mother's house in Limpopo. 

“It was not an easy decision to make but I needed to save my property. I just did not want to live beyond my means,” she told Drum. 

Being back home helped her to remember one of her forgotten dreams and she hosted a two-day music workshop prioritising women titled Limpopo Women in Music in Ga-Kgapane township at Shidila Lodge. 

"I have always wanted to start a project assisting women in music in my village. I always receive messages from aspiring musicians asking for guidance and I thought a workshop would have a bigger impact.” 

This year, the actress and singer is planning big things. Her record label Mosekedi Entertainment has signed the daughter of late discos singer Peta Teanet and Amapiano artist Monica Teanet - who like her father is a producer, song arranger, and poet - Ntombi YomTsonga. They are releasing her project in February. 

“I also have Limpopo Women in Music conference which I started last year are happening again this year and I will soon be announcing the Khelobedu Music Awards happening on Heritage month.”

Candy is also shooting Giyani: Land Of Blood where she plays shebeen queen Mhani Dayina. 

“We are back on set again. I believe this year will be a good year for everyone,” she says. 

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