Durban – Tributes for Durban blues and rock guitarist Sizwe Shabalala, 46, flooded social media on Friday after it emerged he was stabbed to death in Pinetown on Thursday evening.
While details surrounding Shabalala’s death remain unclear, police have confirmed that a 60-year-old suspect has been arrested in connection with the murder.
On Friday SAPS KZN media spokesman Lieutenant-Colonel Thulani Zwane said: “Sizwe Shabalala was stabbed in the chest by a known suspect and he was transported to hospital where he later succumbed to his injuries.
“The suspect was arrested by Pinetown police on the same day. He will appear in the Pine-town Magistrate’s Court on Monday,” said Zwane.
Close friend of the slain guitarist, Durban musician Richard Ellis, said he was shocked to hear of Shabalala’s killing.
“I’ve known him since 1990 He loved blues and rock and would sneak over to the Winston Hotel in Umbilo to listen to the music, though his parents told him he was not allowed out. We had been talking about doing some projects together this year,” said Ellis yesterday.
Durban guitar legend Steve Fataar described Shabalala as “a lovely person – I can’t believe it”.
On social media there was an outpouring of sadness over his death. Actor, playwright and producer Ben Voss posted from Sri Lanka: “Got some very sad news today. Sizwe Shabalala was murdered in Pinetown for a cellphone. He was my very best high school and early university friend. I will miss him – a beautiful, talented and funny soul with an early passion for the good life. Go well, brother.”
Long-time friend Patrick O’Shea shared a video: “This was our first recording in a proper studio organised by Sizwe’s dad, Sam Shabalala. We recorded three songs and Sam got them played on Radio Zulu back in 1989 it was an amazing experience.”
Fee Purvis posted: “What shocking news. You were the most genuine, nicest most humble person I had the privi- lege of calling my friend.”
Farzannah Saib posted: “Rock on my friend, you will forever live on in the music.”
A very good old friend died in a stabbing attack, mistaken thief . Going to miss your happy light, Sizwe Shabalala. pic.twitter.com/yprDY6Yy5q
Sending my condolences to Sizwe Shabalala's family + friends in SA. Not just a great musician, but a genuine, kind person, taken too soon. pic.twitter.com/fGoungZBdT
Shabalala’s last Facebook post read: “A love-filled and successful 2017 to my family, friends and other acquain- tances. May you be equal to the challenges and successes that lie ahead on your journey. Peace, hustle.”
On Friday night, the local music fraternity gathered at Zack’s Restaurant in Windermere Road to pay their respects to the musician.