Robbie Malinga’s statue to receive a face-lift


Karabo Ngoepe

JOHANNESBURG- Following social media backlash over the facial features of music icon Robbie Malinga’s statue, the company behind the work has decided to rework it and make it resemble his face.

CEO of Bataung Memorials, the company behind the tombstone, Lebohang Khitsane said they saw the negative feedback and decided to rework the sculpture. He said they made the decision because as a company they pride themselves on delivering quality unique tombstones.

“There was social media feedback about people not being happy with the features on the face. We feel that we should satisfy everybody because Robbie Malinga belonged to everybody,” he said.

The tombstone was unveiled on Tuesday afternoon during Malinga’s funeral. He died on Christmas Day, surrounded by his family, after a long illness since he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in June last year.

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-decade career, Malinga had mentored and produced many of the country’s top artists, including Zahara, Kelly Khumalo, Naima Kay, Musa Sukwene, Karabo of IdolsSA fame, the late Kwaito artist Brown Dash, Brickz and even the king and godfather of Kwaito music, Arthur Mafokate and Mdu Masilela.

Shortly after the unveiling of his life-size statue, people took to social media to lambast the differences in features. Khitsane said the picture that was used for the sculpture was given to them by the funeral committee that oversaw funeral logistics.

After the uproar, Khitsane said he approached the family to rectify it.

“We called the family and requested to redo the face and they gave us the permission. They are okay with it, but we feel as a company that if people are complaining on social media we should just satisfy everybody,” he said.