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Johannesburg - Metro FM DJ Eddie Makhosonke Zondi, who died on Monday, will be buried at Westpark Cemetery in Johannesburg on Sunday.
Affectionately known for his romantic ballads show, Romantic Repertoire, he died of a heart attack at 47.
In a memorial service on Wednesday, several colleagues and friends spoke of what a remarkable man he was and how he would be greatly missed.
“Smokey Robinson has Berry Gordy, Sidney Poitier had Harry Belafonte, Bob Marawa, Paul Mtirara and I had Eddie Zondi.
“In ways big and small, South Africa had Eddie Zondi,” said close friend and colleague Wilson B Nkosi in his signature poetic tone.
Nkosi, who had worked with Zondi for decades until his untimely death, explained that theirs was not only a work relationship but they were good friends as well.
“I don’t mean to bring the SABC into disrepute but I am going to say this, when it’s time to negotiate contracts at Metro FM, it’s very tense. It’s every man for himself and God for us all. In those negotiation meetings, Eddie would go before me to negotiate his contract and they told him what he wanted to hear and he would say ‘Thanks, what about Nkosi?’ He was the big engine with a big heart and he will always look out for me.
“Everywhere I went to play around the country the people there would tell me they had met Eddie and he had suggested I come out to play for them.
“That big heart changed the script and betrayed me in the end,” said a melancholy Nkosi.
In attendance were the Minister of Arts and Culture Nathi Mthethwa, radio personalities Criselda Kananda, Unathi Msengana and Paul Mtirara, among others.
Metro FM boss Martin Vilakazi applauded Zondi’s two decades at the station, saying his role was beyond just presenting on radio as he built other people’s careers.
“What made him special was his respect for the mic. He understood its purpose, he understood the mandate of the public broadcaster and he made sure he met all the obligations. Many of us did not tell the public Eddie helped us shape our future as broadcasters,” said Vilakazi.
Said acting SABC chief executive Tian Olivier: “Filling his shoes will be impossible. It will take a long time for us to accept our loss because we have lost a person who took his profession very seriously and treated it with so much respect. He was a legend who managed to soothe South Africa with his mellow sounds. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends.”
Zondi is survived by his wife Phakamile and children.