Rapper, ProKid real name, Linda Mkhize’s memorial service saw rappers, old and new flooding the iconic Bassline in Newtown to pay tribute to a man who was hailed Soweto’s finest rapper. Not only was the memorial about remembering what the 37-year-old’s contribution in the industry but it was a time for rappers who went on stage to express regret for not doing more to help Pro when the chips were down.
HIS RISE TO PROMINENCE
When hip-hop was regarded as just an American culture, influenced by the likes of rivals Tupac and Biggy, people like ProKid emerged and redefined what was known as as just a foreign culture and he rapped in his language, isiZulu. At a time where kwaito was a leading genre that was a firm favourite, ProKid was an artist that managed to win the love of township people because of his pure vernacular rap flow and raw content that was so relative to daily living. During the days of a Soweto, hip-hop movement called ‘Black Sunday’ in Diepkloof, Soweto, ProKid became a crowd puller who won battles week-in and week-out. Soon after that, his name was hailed all over the country.
Those days of ‘Black Sunday’, Pro and rapper and friend Maggz, would be joined to the hip. At his memorial, Maggz expressed how difficult it was for him to deal with the passing of a dear friend. “I stand here with many regrets. I wish I had called him or checked up on him. I’m broken, I’m sad about that. We are talking about a stalwart of Soweto, a solid character all-around,” he says.
AKA also shared the same sentiments, in fact, he says when he used to admire Pro and once asked Pro if he thinks he can do well in the industry, and Pro said to him, “you can be anything you want.” He continued to say, “I feel like we could have done more, we let him down.”
One of the first advancers of hip-hop, Amunishn, added that Pro’s lyrical fitness was pure magic and that he was the best Mzansi has ever had. Skwatta Kamp member, Slikour said now that Pro is gone, artists have created WhatsApp groups, joining forces to help out and celebrate him, support he says should continue beyond this sad time. “We don’t know when to stop competing and start building each other,” Slikour says.
It was reported that Pro suffered from a severe seizure at his girlfriend’s flat in Johannesburg. It has been reported that Pro was going through tough times. It is unfortunate that he was spoken of as such an icon only after his death. Tbo Touch MC’d alongside Penny Lebyane says it was sad that at memorial and funeral services people say all these great things about being united and changing but in the end, when the person has been laid to rest nothing much really changes. “This is not a rehearsal, this is real,” Tbo Touch while talking about how precious life is. The leader of EFF, Julius Malema was also in attendance, during his short address, he said Pro might be gone but the culture he helped build continues. He will be laid to rest on 19 August 2018.