‘Magesh taught me to believe in myself’– TKZee members Zwai and Kabelo’s final goodbye to friend Tokollo

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Legendary Kwaito group TKZee made hits in the 1990s and early 2000s.
Legendary Kwaito group TKZee made hits in the 1990s and early 2000s.

They laid their friend to rest with family and colleagues in a dignified ceremony held at Rhema Bible Church, North of Johannesburg.

Family and friends then proceeded to his final resting place at Westcliff cemetery. There wasn't a dry eye in sight when TKZee band members Kabelo Mabalane and Zwai Bala paid tribute to their friend Tokollo “Magesh” Tshabalala.

Kabelo spoke fondly of his friend of 30 years and Zwai belted Frank Sinatra’s song I did It My Way to honour Tokollo.

Magesh died on 15 August. The family confirmed that he suffered from an epileptic seizure which took his life. Addressing the mourners, Kabelo says no one saw this coming. 

“Three weeks ago we were performing in Mpumalanga. Tokollo only had 504 hours left on this earth and I didn’t know it,” he says.

“It made me reflect and go back to the beginning, on the five minutes I had before I met him. I don’t remember exactly where I was, but I can tell you that the time I met him, my life would never be the same.” 

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After hearing about Magesh’s death, Kabelo says he could not stop crying. 

“I wailed like a little child in my wife’s arms and it actually dawned on me that and I said, ‘sweetheart I am sitting in front of you now because of this man,“ he says. 

“My life was impacted, the direction of my life changed and it was never going to be the same again after I met Tokollo.” He says music brought them together. 

“It was always the common denominator in our lives. We would fight, we would be the best of friends. But it was always music that connected us,” he says. 

Before the group TKZee, he and Magesh were in a two-man group called Two-Slice.

“Before TKZee and Mashamplane, there was Two Slice. Born in 1993, he only had one hit that no one ever heard of. We recorded one song. The content of the song was all about the girls we were in love with at the time. We had big dreams and I remember we bunked school and Tebogo Mokobo was our manager for maybe five minutes. We left and went to EMI. We really believed we had the song that was going to change the world,” he says.

But when EMI heard it, they weren’t impressed. 

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Kabelo looks back at the good times and how naughty they were growing up. 

“This past week has also made me reflect on a place we spend a lot of time together, at the back of Tokollo’s house in Fourways,” he says. 

“We would wait for his dad and his mom to leave. We would go to the back of the house to resume our extracurricular activities. We were not reading; I can guarantee you that. If you saw a newspaper, it had a completely different role. As funny as it can be, that back of the house is where it started.”

He says that is where they spoke about their dreams and passion. 

“That back of the house is where we started to believe. Zwai would find us at the back of the house, and we would resume our extracurricular activities. The back of the house is where we, spoke, dreamt, what existed in our hearts happened at the back of the house.” 

He remembers those special moments at the back of Tokollos house every time he is faced with adversity. 

“Tokollo what a privilege it has been and still is to have been a passenger in a car that you drove, to be a catalyst that changed the world. It's Magesh that taught me to believe in myself. He saw in me that I didn’t see in myself, from day one.” 

Kabelo says Magesh believed in him. 

“He taught me how to be brave and fearless.” Kabelo honoured and thanked Tokollo’s parents for treating him as one of their own. 

“I’d like to thank you. I forced myself to be one of your children. You had four children; I was your fifth child. You clothed me, fed me, supported me and I am the man I am today because of you. I thank you for Tokollo and everything that you’ve done,” he says. 

In closing, he says they drifted apart in the last couple of years but remained like brothers. 

“Yes we were performing together, which is testament to the fact that music kept us together and travelling around the world,” he says.

“The topic of faith would come up. It is well documented that I am a pastor and I've given my life to my lord and saviour Jesus Christ. Something I never wanted to force my convictions on Tokollo. I tried to let my life speak volumes,” he says.

“There was a time Magesh unprompted by anybody, walked up to the church and received Christ as his Lord and saviour. Right now, I can tell you there’s a big fat party in heaven with Thuli Thilis, Mandoza, and Magesh. It's happening,” he says. 

“It blesses my heart that Tokollo got to experience the love of Christ. Magesh, we changed the world, toured the world, got arrested, fought, cried, we won big and lost big. We have lived five lifetimes in the 30 years I’ve known you. What a ride it’s been. Rest in peace my ni**a, see you when I get there.”

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