Lots of words get tossed around when speaking about him. Words like 'crossover' and 'nation building' and lots of other overused cliches. Yes, he was responsible for the world's most overplayed kwaito track that white people liked, but that's not why the guy is a legend.
I met him dozens of times. Dozens and dozens of times. He was always the same. One of the mos...t consistent guys in the business. He was shy. He was humble. He was embarrassed easily if you made too much of a fuss of him. He was always late and always apologetic and I could never bring myself to make him feel bad about it because he was MANDOZA. He always showed up though. He always brought his A game and he was always respectful.
Do you know how much shit you have to swallow when you're Mandoza? So many people who are shedding a tear today are the same people who mocked him, disrespected him, tried to make him feel small. He was bullied about the way he spoke, his skin, his shades, his comebacks. Everything and anything. And how did he respond? He continued to give of himself, he continued to make himself vulnerable, he continued to open himself to your jokes. But he wasn't a joke. He was a young man who overcame the odds, who was honest about his flaws, who never went away, even when people declared his career dead.
Today my heart hurts. It hurts because we've lost someone who was a big deal to us. It hurts because he was exactly 7 days younger than me and that's just too young to die. It hurts because he died of cancer and that could have been me. It hurts because I'm scared he didn't know how much he was loved. It hurts because at times people forgot he was just a person who was self-conscious and self aware like the rest of us humans. And it hurts because we'll never hear reports about a comeback again (as if he ever went away). There'll be no more 'comebacks'.
We'll miss you, Mduduzi, you legend.
Rest in peace.