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In the end, all Jabu wanted was a naartjie

GENIUS: Jabu (left) remembered as a "genius" by Bongani (right)
GENIUS: Jabu (left) remembered as a "genius" by Bongani (right)

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By Showbiz Reporter

MALAIKA’S surviving band members have been paying their tributes to Jabu Ndaba who died on Monday after a two-year battle with TB.

Tshedi Mjolo, the group’s lead vocalist said Ndaba called her, crying, a week before his death at Tshepong Hospital in Klerksdorp with a simple wish.

She remembered: "His wish list consisted naartjie, sweets and tropica.

"Unfortunately Bongani (Nchang) could not go so I drove alone and got there late at night.”

Mholo says that when she learnt on Sunday this week that Ndaba could no longer talk nor breathe on his own, she was devastated and shocked.

“Jabu was so handsome, smooth and his complexion was light, but he was excited, taking photos and introducing me around the hospital,” Tshedi said in an interview with the Sowetan.

"He said he was missing work and so assured me he was coming back to work. At the rate he was making noise, he was really in high spirits.”

As the night wore on, Tshedi said, nurses were anxious to get her to leave but Ndaba told them: “She doesn’t have a bomb.”

Mholo remembered how last February they went to Australia with Ndaba for his last stage performance with the group.

“He loved performing but although he tried, it was tough. All his actions were (about) the Malaika he loved so much and the protection of the brand.
“He was passionate and hardworking.

"When we were not on tour, he would be in the studio, composing and playing the music for us while driving.

"He called me Jembe because of my love for jembe drum-infused music.”
Mholo said Ndaba came from a large, close-knit family of loving grandparents, mother, uncles, sister and his son Keke.

Tshedi revealed she was baptised by Ndaba’s grandfather, and was to later meet the man with the powerful tenor voice at a church in Meadowlands where he used to play the piano, laying the foundation for Malaika.

TOO MUCH TO BEAR: Bongani (left) and Tshedi (right) break down at Jabu's memorial service on Thursday. In the middle is their producer Godfrey 'Guffy' Pilane
TOO MUCH TO BEAR: Bongani (left) and Tshedi (right) break down at Jabu's memorial service on Thursday. In the middle is their producer Godfrey 'Guffy' Pilane

“Knowing and working with Jabu was a blessing,” stresses Mholo.

Together for five years, they released three albums, Malaika, Vuthelani and Sekunjalo, with a total of nine awards.

Bongani Nchang, who completes what was a three-member group said they would not be replacing Ndaba.

“Though we will sadly miss Jabu, Malaika will carry on with myself and Tshedi,” an emotional Nchang revealed.

“He had a powerful tenor voice that melded with ours beautifully. But we have, amazingly, managed to work without him while he was sick.”

Nchang said he learnt that Ndaba was suffering from TB when his buddy announced the sad news to fans during their last home show in Bloemfontein in 2006.

Nchang said Ndaba was troubled by rumours that he was HIV positive while he was performing, so he decided to break the news.

“Though we knew that he was sick because he was losing a lot of weight, we did not know exactly what he was suffering from. We were all shocked. We thought he just had a serious cough or something.”

Malaika plan a musical tribute to Ndaba, but Nchang said they did not look forward to performing at his memorial service.

“This is a very emotional and difficult time for the band. Jabu was my best friend. We used to fight a lot because we were more like brothers than colleagues. He never ever held grudges and had his own way of saying sorry to me.

“We have truly lost a genius and it breaks my heart.”


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