Local artists from Lwandle and surrounding areas paid their final tribute to the man dubbed “Pavarotti” on Friday 11 May.
Lubabalo Tshapelo (26) was a well-known music artist in the area and recently died after a long illness.
On the day, the stage was lit up with artists, poets and actors in for a fitting send-off – one which Tshapelo would have appreciated.
Pavarotti’s friend Khanyiso Thakholi told City Vision it was hard to believe his friend was no more. “We knew he was sick as this was not the first time he was hospitalised,” he said.
“But we always prayed he would survive this one again. When I heard he is no more it really hit me.”
Thakholi believes it isn’t just he who has lost a friend, but the greater Lwandle and Nomzamo area as a whole.
Pavarotti was very active in the local music industry, Thakoli added, and he was passionate about identifying young talent in his area.
“He didn’t only focus on hip-hop, but recruited everyone who was talented, be it a vocalist or a musician,” Thakoli said.
“He would mentor and help wherever he could. As a community, we have been robbed a great deal through his death. There are very few people in this area that had as much influence as him.”
The aim of Friday’s tribute, held at the Lwandle Migrant Labour Museum, was to celebrate and honour the artist’s lifelong work, Thakoli related.
Thakoli added that he started singing as a result of his late friend’s influence.
“So instead of mourning we should rather celebrate the work he has left behind, which will stay in this community forever,” he said.
Childhood friend Thembela Mqokozo related his and Tshapelo’s growing up together in the ’90s, although Tshapelo was younger. “He was an approachable person; a friendly person and a guy with a good heart,” Mqukozo said.
“Hearing the news of his death saddend me. Yes, he had not been well, but you always assume people will get better.”
Mqokozo believes last Friday’s tribute could not be more appropriate.
Pavarotti will be buried in Queenstown in the Eastern Cape this weekend.