Just over a month ago, a video of Olpha Selepe - popularly known as GeeSixFive - singing her new single Obani Lababantu gained traction on social media and she quickly became a viral sensation. The song has been streamed over 33 000 times on Spotify and she had recently announced that she is taking bookings. Her most recent performance was an energetic rendition of her popular single on Mzansi Insider.
Sadly, Selepe has passed away. The news of her passing were confirmed by her niece and former editor of TRUELOVE, Sbu Mpungose who took to Twitter to share that her "beloved aunt, MumNcane... is no more".
"She displayed leadership throughout her life, was the epitome of fearlessness & inspired many with her single #ObaniLababantu. Mthiya, Shandu kaNdaba, Sontshikazi. #RIPGeeSixFive," Mpungose wrote. Tributes and condolences have since been pouring in.
According to a statement released by her family, Selepe passed away in Durban where she had been self-isolating after receiving a positive diagnosis for COVID-19 on Monday.
"The 65-year-old retired teacher had an illustrious career as a primary school principal, later heading up Northdale TVET college in Pietermaritzburg - she also did a teaching stint abroad in the UK," the statement said.
"Her love for music began while training at a teacher's college and she went on to be a highly decorated choir conductor performing in both regional and national competitions. She was also an active member of the Regina Coeli Catholic Church in Madadeni, Newcastle where she lived."
For many, Selepe was a source of inspiration, and personified the saying: "We are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream" with the release of her Amapiano single Obani Lababantu. The song topped streaming platforms early in November and has been a key feature in social media discussions.
According to Arts24, Selepe was born Emadadeni in Newcastle, KZN. She had completed her masters degree at the age of 63, and she was pursuing her doctoral degree at the time of her passing.
In an interview with Vibe FM, she explained that the message of her song is to inspire people to not hold themselves back from pursuing their dreams because of what 'people' will say.
"You always hear people say things like 'people laugh at each other' or 'what will people say' - so, with this song I'm asking 'who are these people?'. What I'm saying is don't hold back on your dreams because of 'people'," she said.
In the same interview, she also revealed that this song was a once off project.
"I have a reason for this; I've already done what I dreamt of [and] now I'm making room for others."
If there's one thing that GeeSixFive taught us all, it's that our dreams are worth chasing after and that age should never dictate which dreams we can and can't go for. May her soul rest in peace.