A family divided
The family of late gospel star S’fiso Ncwane say they were sidelined from his funeral arrangements, amid disagreements between his widow and his mother over where he should be buried. This week, close friends of S’fiso’s wife, Ayanda, told City Press that his mother, Fikile, insisted her son be buried at her home in Qoloqolo, a seaside village about 87km south of Durban. But she was told that S’fiso’s will stipulated that he be buried near one of his homes in Johannesburg or Durban.
On Friday, his great uncle Amos and great aunt Homistar, whom S’fiso referred to as his grandparents, were still in the dark about the role they would play at his funeral yesterday at Durban’s Moses Mabhida Stadium and a cemetery in Hillcrest.
“We are going to be like any other visitors at the funeral. We will not be up in front. His wife has taken control and we understand this because he was married,” said Amos.
He said Fikile was making a mistake in interfering with S’fiso’s final resting place.
“We’ve also heard rumours that there is a disagreement between the two over where he should be buried, but S’fiso was a married man. His wife should be in control. Fikile is making a mistake. If he has said something different in his will, it will come out after the funeral.”
Amos said the family had a burial site where S’fiso would have been buried if Fikile had had her way.
“His younger brother was buried there, along with other members of the Ncwane family. We would have laid him to rest next to his brother,” he said.
S’fiso’s uncle Zamukwakhe Booi said he was also unsure of the funeral arrangements and whether he would attend because he had no transport and the venues for the memorial services and funeral were too far away.
At the memorial service at eThekwini Community Church on Thursday, speakers called for family unity and warned Ayanda of negative media reports to follow.
Among them was President Jacob Zuma’s wife Tobeka, who urged Ayanda to focus on her inner circle and not her “outer circle”, of which the media formed part. “That is how we survive the hostility of the media in our country, regardless of how hard our president has worked for South Africa,” she said.
In October, Ncwane told Drum magazine that he was not supporting his mother because “kunemikhovu lapha (there are zombies around that house)”.
In September, he made headlines after donating a Mercedes GL 63 AMG worth almost R2 million to his pastor, Reverend Francis Anosike from the Rock of Victory Ministries International Church in Newtown, Johannesburg, while his mother said she often went to bed hungry.
Anosike, however, was nowhere to be seen at the memorial services this week.
S’fiso’s last performance
Details have also emerged of S’fiso’s last performance last Saturday night at the Thobela FM Praise and Worship Gospel Festival in Burgersfort, Limpopo. Just before midnight, a few minutes after revealing that his new album had gone gold, he told his audience he wasn’t feeling well. Concert promoter Bruce Kgapane told City Press: “He began on a high note. When he sang Ngipholise Nkosi, I noticed that he was sitting on a chair, but he still didn’t look like someone in pain. He was jovial. “When I looked at his eyes, I could see something wasn’t right. But I thought maybe something was wrong at home.” Kgapane called an ambulance. “The paramedics were waiting for him after his performance. They told him his blood pressure was very high and wanted to take him to the nearest hospital, but he refused and told the paramedics he was taking medication and was going to be fine. All he wanted was to go home.” Kgapane said he phoned Ncwane at around 11am on Sunday. “He said: ‘I’m super and happy. I’m just preparing myself for my Kaya FM gig.’ That was a few hours before he died,” Kgapane said. Ncwane made it to Kaya FM, but his condition deteriorated before he could perform. He was rushed to hospital after vomiting blood. “It’s sad to know that he came to perform at my gig to bid farewell to South Africa,” Kgapane said.
Letter of love
At S’fiso’s memorial service at Soweto’s Grace Bible Church on Friday, his wife’s sister, Toti Makoba, read out a love letter Ayanda had written to her husband. “Who am I to question God after I have seen him through you, my love? I am truly honoured to serve you in your ministry, even more honoured to have your children and trusted by God to share everything with you,” Ayanda wrote.
“The abundant love and amount of respect and honour you gave me as a wife is beyond words.”
Ayanda said she was one of very few wives who could “claim and brag about the forever together”.
“You gave me a once-in-a-lifetime kind of love; made me feel and treated me like a princess and a queen all at once. You declared me the most beautiful woman that you have ever laid your eyes on,” she said.
She also said she was sure his “departure was a secret plan between you and God”.
“He wanted to crown you in Heaven as pure and clean-hearted as you are, because this world was slowly trying to stain your purity. I know that you’re going to give King David a hard time in Heaven. God will have a difficult time to choose His favourite singer between the two of you,” she wrote.
“I can feel it in my spirit that this was your perfectly designed journey of 37 years.”
Ayanda said her goodbye letter had been “the most difficult thing” to write.
“Thank you for the perfect experience of love you showered me with since I was only 18 years old in August of 2002. I thank God for that faithful day.” For accounts from S’fiso’s closest friends of the man they knew, go to http://city-press.news24.com/
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