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Grammy award-winning composer Mthandeni Mvelase has died

Mthandeni Mvelase. Picture: File

Mthandeni Mvelase. Picture: File

Published Jul 22, 2022


Multi-instrumentalist and composer Mthandeni Mvelase, the man behind the soundtrack of the long-running South African TV series “Muvhango”, has died.

Producer Sipho Sithole confirmed the news when he told the blog Music In Africa that Mvelase died on his way to a Durban hospital on Thursday, July 21, after experiencing breathing difficulties.

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“According to local music professional and producer Sipho Sithole, Mthandeni Mvelase died on his way to a hospital in Durban on 21 July after experiencing breathing difficulties.”

Mvelase first rose to national fame when he worked with Mbongeni Ngema on the musical “Township Fever” in the late 1980s. His crowning moment came in 2018 when he won a Grammy award for production work on Ladysmith Black Mambazo’s album, “Shaka Zulu Revisited: 30th Anniversary Celebration”.

Duma Ndlovu, the South African poet, film-maker and producer who’s best known for creating SABC 2 telenovela “Muvhango”, paid tribute to Mvelase in a Facebook post.

“As his body lies in a cold hospital slab, we will come together as his friends and find a way to give him a decent send-off. It’s the least we can do for a man who gave his life to creating some of the most memorable music this country has had, and remained in the shadows and background all his life.”

According to Buzz Life News, Mvelase was the composer behind “Muvhango’s” long-running soundtrack. Apart from “Muvhango”, Ndlovu and Mvelase also worked together on several projects including “The Journey” and “The Lion King” auditions.

During his career, Mvelase worked with musicians such as Jabu Khanyile, Lindelani Mkhize, Sibongile Khumalo, Thandiswa Mazwai and Zulu Boy.

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Last year, Mazwai paid tribute to him for his arrangement of her song, “Nizalwa Ngobani”.

“We just couldn’t go wrong with Fana Zulu on bass, Mnca on drums, Khululiwe and Khanyo on backing vocals and Mthandeni Mvelase on arrangements #KingThaZabalaza #KingThaArchive,” she wrote on Twitter.