JOHANNESBURG, January 2 (ANA) – Childhood and industry friends described Robbie Malinga on Tuesday as a big dreamer, a compassionate man, part comicic, and a devoted family man.
Malinga was being remembered during his funeral service at Rhema Bible Church in Johannesburg on Tuesday. He died on Christmas Day, surrounded by his family, ater a long illness since he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in June this year.
Childhood friend Cassius Thalmaje said that Malinga was a family man and knew the importance of spending quality time with his family.
Fellow musicians such as Doc Shebeleza said that they went back a long way back with Malinga, to the start of their careers.
“I have known Robbie for the past 25 years after we met in church at Meadowlands Zone 9. We did many things together trying to start this thing. We would cry together. Then Freddie Gwala put us together where Robbie played the keyboard and we launched our careers,” Shebeleza said.
“Though sometimes things would be tough for me, Robbie never forgot me and he would visit me, bringing groceries and other necessities. The suit I’m wearing now is the one he bought it for me for R10,000 to wear as the best man at his wedding. And I am grateful to his wife Ann because none of those things ever made it to the tabloid papers because they understood where we are coming from as friends.”
Former business partner and friend, TK Ncinza described Malinga as a big dreamer who always had his eye on the next big thing but yet not forgetting to empower those around him.
“Robbie was a big dreamer and he was the best producer of our time. He loved success, but also wanted everybody to succeed. When he moved to Spruit, he said he was now living in town. When he moved to Fourways, he said he now stays in Deirnfen. You could see that if he had moved to Hartebeespoort, he would declare that he now owns the dam,” Ncinza said.
Musician Musa Sukwene described the types of jokes he would share with his mentor and producer, a man he said he had grown to consider a father figure.
“The hardest thing for me to do is begin the year by laying to rest my brother. I am still shocked that he is no more,” Sukwene said.
“We met seven years ago and I started long ago to ask him to do a collaboration with me. He used to say we won’t do a collab because “wena uyacula” (you are a singer). Then he would say no one gets to collaborate with the great Robbie Malinga.”
As a soccer fan and an ardent Orlando Pirates supporter, club chairman Irvin Khoza – through representative Floyd Mbhele – passed on his condolences, saying he feels the Malinga family’s grief because he and Robbie’s father grew up in the same street in Orlando, Soweto.
SABC spokesperson Kaizer Kganyago said Malinga showed the country that he was the best in the industry.
“We will forever be grateful that we crossed paths with him. He was a jolly guy and would not fight anyone because he wanted everyone to prosper. We have always beloved that he was the best in what he was doing,” Kganyago said.
“In 2014 while deciding who should win the MetroFM lifetime achievement award, we decided to give it to Robbie. That was our way of saying we appreciate what he was doing. On a personal level, I asked him to get me [musician] Ntando to come sing at my party in April 2017, but he came with Musa and they sang, and that made my day.”
Legendary South African Afro-pop producer Robbie Malinga was on Tuesday hailed for mastering the business side of the music industry and avoiding the stigma of dying poor despite having been a successful artist.
One of Malinga’s mentees, Sbusiso “Dj Sbu” Leope, said that Malinga had been a smart musician and had established the publishing company of his music, meaning he owned the whole catalogue of his music.
In 2015, Malinga started his own record company Robbie Malinga Entertainment which houses artists such as Musa Sukwene, Sammisto and Maxi. Before then, Malinga was a producer and writer and also held the position of artists and repertoire at Universal Music South Africa.
Universal Music SA representative Madwedwe Ntombini said that Universal was behind Malinga’s family all the way and urged the family to be strong.
“We are going to miss his creativity, his discovering talent every month, his smile and laughter, we will also miss his smell coz he wore expensive and unique colognes,” Ntombini said.
Malinga’s friend and Mpumalanga businessman Johan Sibiya said that he was saddened and disappointed by Malinga’s death. Sibiya said he had shared a business-minded friendship with Malinga and had always encouraged each other.
“When I bought all the Jet Music stores in the country because music houses were shutting down, I wanted South African musicians to have a place to sell their music. Robbie was the first to give me a call and congratulated me,” Sibiya said.
“The Jet Music in Maponya Mall will miss him a lot because that is where he would promote a lot of his music. We want government to acknowledge artists because they create a lot of jobs and contribute a lot of tax. But there are no parliamentarians that are standing up for artists despite the artists’ work being pirated and exploited by people on the streets, they don’t even have protection from the State.”
Malinga died at home among his family on Christmas Day after a long illness following his diagnosis with pancreatic cancer in June.
South African music producer Robbie Malinga will be laid to rest on Tuesday following his death on Christmas day after a long illness.
Malinga, who was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in June this year, was on Friday celebrated in song and dance by fellow musicians, politicians, actors soccer teams, as well as community members from where he grew up in Meadowlands in a memorial service at Grace Bible Church in Soweto.
Malinga had been sickly for most of 2017 and despite losing a significant amount of weight, he continued to travel and produce music.
Known as “The Hitmaker” for producing many of the country’s hit songs and moulding the careers of many artists, the 49-year-old was hailed as the pillar of SA’s music industry whose loss would be felt greatly.
During his more than two-decades career, Malinga had mentored and produced many or the country’s top artists, including Zahara, Kelly Khumalo, Naima Kay, Musa Sukwene, Karabo of IdolsSA fame, the late Kwaito artist Brown Dash, Brickz Mabrigado, and even the king and godfather of Kwaito music, Arthur Mafokate and Mdu Masilela.
Sibusiso “Dj Sbu” Leope, who worked with Malinga at TS Records, described him as one of the best music producers Africa had seen.
Fellow musician Kabelo Mabalane said Malinga was not only a famous producer, but also a God-fearing man as they had met more in church than in a recording studio.
Malinga’s funeral service would be held at Rhema Bible Church from 8am. He is survived by his wife Ann, son Robbie Junior, daughter Zanokuhle, his parents, one sister and two brothers.
– African News Agency (ANA),