Independent Online

Tuesday, July 5, 2022

Like us on FacebookFollow us on TwitterView weather by locationView market indicators

One year on and Sibongile Khumalo is remembered in song

Sibongile Khumalo during an interview with The Star about the launch of her new album, Breath of Life. Picture: Antoine de Ras, 01/02/2016

Sibongile Khumalo during an interview with The Star about the launch of her new album, Breath of Life. Picture: Antoine de Ras, 01/02/2016

Published Jan 31, 2022

Share

Sibongile Khumalo during an interview with The Star about the launch of her new album, Breath of Life. Picture: Antoine de Ras, 01/02/2016

Friday, January 28th, 2022, marked exactly a year since the death of the prolific jazz musician Sibongile Khumalo, popularly known as the "First Lady of Song".

The Soweto-born, multitalented songstress died at age 63, after "succumbing to stroke-related complications following a lengthy period of illness".

Story continues below Advertisement

Khumalo was last seen on stage since before she became ill. Although her voice has now ceased, her son Tshepo Mngoma is keeping her music and memory alive. He has released a remake of Khumalo's famous Xola Moya, which takes on a different context since her death.

"The original song was sung from a widow's point of view, thinking about her deceased spouse, but this time around, it is me as the son, encouraging my heart and that of my family's to heal because of her passing, a year later. So this is yet another part of celebrating her life, celebrating her. Who she was to us, her children, the grandchildren," he said.

Mngoma worked with Mpumi Dlamini, who produced the song, which will be available on all digital platforms.

Story continues below Advertisement

"I also want to thank her for all that she was for us," Mngoma said, describing his relationship with his mother as one that was very close.

"She was a person I would confide in, and when I needed advice on many things I would call her. We would speak about life, music, spirituality; and, what people don't know, is that we would talk about many things in the Bible from a spiritual aspect. I find myself wanting to call her when something funny happens, for a good laugh," Mngoma said.

Mngoma also shares how Khumalo mentored him in music, and said his first gig came from her.

Story continues below Advertisement

Khumalo's mother was a nurse and her father a scholar and musician who co-founded the music department at the University of Zululand.

"When my grandfather died, she took over that mentor role, and she afforded me my first gig in Moretele Park in 1999. Since then, it's been a wonderful journey working with her," he said.

Mngoma studied music in Cape Town, graduating in 2002, and was informally trained by Khumalo in being a music director.

Story continues below Advertisement

"I was the youngest member of the band, working with the likes of bab'Fana Zulu, and I would be given a platform to advise on how to approach music. She gave me that space, and now I am a music director formally because of all the experience gained while working with her band."

Mngoma said Friday was an emotional day for him and his sons and he just sobbed when his youngest saw a picture of his grandmother.

"It is moments like these that show you who she was to us. A prolific grandmother to her grandchildren and mother to her kids," he said.

Khumalo began her musical studies at eight years old, under the respected local music teacher, Emily Motsieloa. And while Khumalo focused mainly on the violin, she was influenced by the local music that came from healers and ministers from the nearby township church. She went on to record nine albums between 1998 and 2001.

@AmandaMaliba

Share