Sowetan

Ray on Stimela to heaven

● He spent his last days cooking ● Phiri to miss out on raising his 8-month-old child

- By Jessica Levitt

Ray Phiri spent his last days doing the two things he loved most: cooking and playing music for his family.

The musician was a whizz in the kitchen and didn’t let anybody interfere once he started preparing dishes. His impressive culinary skills were thanks to the late, great songstress Miriam Makeba, who taught him how to cook. “Miriam was well travelled and had experience­d many different dishes during all of her tours. She passed this on to Ray,” said family spokesman Paul Nkanyane.

“He embraced it. He really loved it. Once he got into the kitchen you couldn’t get him out,” Nkanyane said. Although he was skilled in producing a variety of dishes, Nkanyane said that Phiri’s speciality was fish.

“He loved cooking fish. And I loved his fish.

“I could even say I enjoyed his food more than his company. His wife didn’t cook, he did. If he was in the house he would be the only one preparing a meal,” Nkanyane said.

Phiri died yesterday morning after a two-month battle with lung cancer.

Although the diagnosis was dire, those close to him are still shocked.

“I spoke to him on Monday. He told me not to come to Nelspruit because he was coming home. We all thought he was coming home,” said Nkanyane.

“He loved life. He was still playing his music. He wanted to perform. He wanted to carry on, but this disease won.”

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 ?? /THULI DLAMINI ?? Ray Phiri at the Zakifo Music Festival in Durban on Friday night.
/THULI DLAMINI Ray Phiri at the Zakifo Music Festival in Durban on Friday night.

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