Robbie Malinga’s death was a spoiler for Christmas day. Most of us like Kelly Khumalo wished it was just a stupid prank when the news broke, but it wasn’t. Malinga is no more As tributes continue to flood in for the Afro-pop singer, songwriter and producer, let’s take a look at the things we ought to know about the music veteran.

1. He Started Off As A Keyboardist
The beginning of the phenomenal music career Malinga had started with him being a keyboardist for the musician of Zumba, Freddie Gwala of Amadamara fame and the group platform 1. From here, Malingo and his Vardos group from East Rand went on to become the pioneers of kwaito. He would later release a smash hit – Insimbi – which earned him much admiration and made him a leading figure in the genre. Malinga didn’t relax, instead, he settled into his fame by partnering with Doc Shebeleza to form RoboDoC in 1999, producing mega hits like Ebumnandini and Skumfete.

2. Many Musicians Owe Their Successes To His Magic Touch
Those were the words of Nhlanhla Sibisi, the CEO of the Recording Industry of South Africa (RiSA). While the CEO expressed his condolences to Malinga’s family, friends and music partners, he asserted that Robbie Malinga’s death is a big loss. “His death is a definite end of an era and a sound we will not forget soon. What a devastating loss. We can never tell the South African music story without giving him a prominent mention.

“…This was one of the best this country has ever produced. A lot of musicians owe their successes to his magic touch as a producer, composer, arranger and vocalist. He was one of the most sought-after hitmakers in this country,” said Sibisi.

Being a producer, he helped shape the careers of artists like Izinyoka, Ntando, Nhlanhla Nciza, Zahara, Brickz, Kabelo Mabalane, Arthur Mafokate, Brown Dash, Mzekezeke and Sbu of Amalawyer fame. He helped discover Malaika, worked with Lebo M to remix Lion King to Umhlaba Wabantu for local audiences and also produced the Orlando Pirates theme song for its 70th-anniversary celebrations – Bhakaniya.

3. He Moved From Kwaito To Afro Music
After Robbie Malinga left an indelible impression on Kwaito music genre, he moved to Afro Music. He did this because he wanted to expand his musical talent. He once commented on his shift to Afro music saying: “As a music producer, you need to grow and get to produce the quality of music that will be loved by music fans. I felt that I would do much better as an Afro-pop and soul producer.”

4. One Of His Career Regrets Is Not Signing Nathi Mankayi
We don’t know much about the things Robbie didn’t get right in his music career, but, we do know that his refusal to sign Nathi Mankayi is one of his regrets. He once had an extensive interview with DJ Fresh; wherein he disclosed that he would love to work with Nathi Mankayi.

“I regret not having signed Nathi,” he said. “Nomvula is the only song that when I hear on the radio, I regret not having signed him,” added Robbie.

5. Robbie Malinga’s Death
You already know that Malinga died on Christmas day. What you probably don’t know is that he invited members of his entire family for lunch the day he died.

Although Robbie has been sick, his death came as a surprise. Dharam Sewraj, the spokesperson of Universal Music expressed this when he said: “He has been sick and we’ve had to counter so many false death messages about him, but this time it is true. Nobody can believe it. He was well. He was better.”

While it has severally circulated that Malinga’s ill health comes from him being HIV positive, it is now believed that he had anaemia. The 49-year-old musician succumbed to the health condition at his home on Christmas day and in the presence of his entire family.

The President of the country, Jacob Zuma said Robbie Malinga’s death is devastating. “We are deeply saddened by the loss of such a talented artist. This is indeed a huge loss for South Africa and the music industry as a whole. We are with his family in thought and prayer during this trying period. May his soul rest in peace,” said the President.


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