Ayanda Ncwane, wife of Sfiso Ncwane, and his mother Fikile Ncwane at the memorial service at eThekwini Community Church in Durban. Picture: S’bonelo Ngcobo/The Mercury

Durban – Gospel singer Sfiso Ncwane was on Thursday described as a humble man who had always been there for his family.

Mourners gathered at the eThekwini Community Church on Thursday for his memorial service. Ncwane died suddenly on Sunday at a Johannesburg hospital.

First lady Thobeka Madiba-Zuma said one of her fondest memories of Ncwane was when he called her in 2010 and asked for permission to perform at her wedding.

“He said ‘Ma, can I come and sing?’ I said please come, my boy. Death is a secret that challenges us to keep our relationship with God intact. All of us here know our dates of birth but none knows the date of death. Only God knows it. Sfiso did all he had to do in this world,” she said.

Tobeka Madiba-Zuma said she hoped other artists would learn from the Kulungile Baba hitmaker’s humbleness.

A friend, Sipho Makhabane, said he was shocked when he heard of Ncwane’s death.

“I did not believe the way God took him. When I got into the room he was in, it was as if I could wake him up. He died peacefully. It took me time to realise he was gone. It was confirmed and we gave everything to God to handle.”

ANC provincial chairman Sihle Zikalala said Ncwane’s music was “a full package”.

“When you listened to his songs, you felt entertained and moved even. To the believers, even if you did not go to church, you still managed to get spiritual,” he said.

KZN Arts, Culture, Sports and Recreation MEC Bongi Sithole-Moloi said she had struggled to come to terms with the artist’s death.

KZN ANC Youth League secretary Thanduxolo Sabela said: “He died at a time this country is yearning for role-models. The youth is running out of role-models. He is someone we could proudly declare a role-model. It is indeed a great loss.”

Lungelo Gumede, who spoke on behalf of Ncwane’s in-laws, said the musician had become like a father figure in the family.

Ncwane’s uncle Mduduzi Ncwane said the singer’s death was a huge loss to the family.

Gospel artists Nobathembu Mabeka, Thulani Ga Ndlela, Dumi Mkokstad and Thobekile Mkhwanazi paid tribute by singing his songs

Ncwane’s funeral will take place at Moses Mabhida Stadium. He will then be buried at the Heroes Acre in Chesterville.

The Mercury