I’m not playing Lebo – Ibrahim

The last time someone tried to bring Lebo Mathosa back to life, it was a bit of a disaster.

But Zaki Ibrahim insists the songs she will perform with Mathosa’s Boom Shaka bandmates on Saturday are a tribute – not an attempt to mimic the late singer.

Neo-soul singer Ibrahim, who is the Canadian-born child of South African parents, will front Boom Shaka at Saturday’s Hansa Festival of Legends in Johannesburg.

In an interview with City Press, Ibrahim said: “People are going to compare (me to Mathosa) because that’s what people do, also because people want to see what they know or what they are able to compare.”

She’s a little unnerved by the potential for criticism, of course.

Sello Maake Ka Ncube’s play Drama Queen, which told Mathosa’s life story, became famous instead for in-house drama and was slated by critics and fans alike.

Khanyi Mbau, who played the raunchy, sexy first lady of kwaito, disappointed audiences and Boom Shaka rapper Thembi Seete, who was also Mathosa’s best friend, stormed out in anger.

Mathosa died in a car crash in 2006.

She was just 29.

Ibrahim, though, is not expected to be an actress when she takes to the stage in Newtown on Saturday.

“It was explained to me that I was not playing a role – ‘You are Zaki and you are going to be singing songs that will be paying tribute to Lebo.”

In rehearsal, Ibrahim’s version of Mathosa’s solo hit Free proved that she’s not interested in imitation.

One thing the young singer has done to prepare for the gig is to dye her curly black hair blonde and have it braided, in a style similar to Mathosa’s.

“Our mannerism and looks are not the same but these songs are powerful songs that people are drawn to. It’s nostalgia, it’s her energy and her spirit and in my way, how it has influenced me. I would like to put them out.”

Asked if she might struggle with some of the vernacular lyrics – Ibrahim, who grew up in Canada, though she has settled as an adult in Cape Town – laughed.

“Lebo twanged her way through. She was twanging, bowing and yawing. I’m not about mimicking Lebo. There is no comparison and that’s not how I want to pay tribute to her.”

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For only R75 per month, you have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today.
Subscribe to News24
Lockdown For
DAYS
HRS
MINS
Voting Booth
When assisting your child with remote learning this year, did you:
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
Results
Follow the school's comprehensive sexuality education (CSE) curriculum?
13% - 364 votes
Adjust the CSE curriculum to suit the family's morals?
24% - 642 votes
Ignore the schools CSE programme and do your own teaching?
63% - 1718 votes
Vote
ZAR/USD
15.15
(+0.77)
ZAR/GBP
20.39
(+0.20)
ZAR/EUR
18.41
(+0.57)
ZAR/AUD
11.28
(+0.41)
ZAR/JPY
0.15
(+0.33)
Gold
1838.30
(+0.51)
Silver
24.09
(+0.37)
Platinum
1033.00
(+2.73)
Brent Crude
47.96
(+1.75)
Palladium
2300.52
(-3.37)
All Share
58947.48
(+1.14)
Top 40
54171.85
(+1.29)
Financial 15
11399.33
(+0.82)
Industrial 25
79681.43
(+0.78)
Resource 10
56621.26
(+2.07)
All JSE data delayed by at least 15 minutes morningstar logo