Musician Vusi Nova.

DURBAN - The South African Music Rights Organisation says it has started an investigation into who owns the rights to Vusi Nova’s hit song As’phelelanga - which celebrates the lives of fallen entertainers including Sfiso Ncwane, Mandoza, Brenda Fassie and Robbie Malinga among others.

A Chippa United supporters club have lodged a complaint that the song was theirs and that they have never been contacted by Vusi Nova, his record label or his management company about the recording of the song.

Samro’s Advocate Nkateko Maluleka told Isolezwe they hoped the probe would be completed within a week.

“We will investigate who wrote and composed this song,” said Maluleka. “If it is deemed a song that has been publically available and that has different artists making their own versions of it, we may not be able to rule on that because we will not know who wrote the lyrics,” he said.

In an interview with Drum, Vusi Nova denied he had stolen the song and said he had grown up listening to it.

"So, first of all, I haven’t stolen any song and I’ll tell you why I haven’t stolen any song because As’phelelang doesn’t belong to anyone, its public domain," he told the publication.

"I woke up this morning to a newspaper banner: Vusi Nova stole our song! The song AS’PHELELANGA, a song I have known since I was a child is now being claimed to have been written by a Maskandi artist, a soccer team, a boxer and Lord knows who else.” he wrote on Instagram.

A&R extra-ordinaire, Vusi Leeuw, said it was vital to find the original person who wrote the lyrics of the song.

“Even if someone comes forward and claims they wrote the song, there must be evidence to that effect. Because there is evidence that this song has been sung in various places, it is possible to make your own version,” he said.

Chippa United had said on social media this week that the song was theirs on a Facebook post.

Maskandi artist Celazimnike Mtshali also recorded a version of the song last year.

Sunday Tribune