Malawians fondly pay tribute to late South African legendary singer Steve Kekana

South African legendary performing artist, Steve Kekana, who died on Thursday at the age of 63, touched the chord of Malawians in the 1980s when he visited the country for several music concerts when he composed a hit song — ‘I Just Wanna Sing, Ndimafuna Kuimba Nyimbo’ after his concert visit to Malawi in 1985.

Soon after the announcement of his passing on, Malawians posted their tributes of this “blind but very talented iconic musician” as described by musician, Wycliffe Chimwendo.

The album title of the song ‘Ndimafuna Kuimba Nyimbo’

Chimwendo reminisces that he watched Kekana’s live performance at BAT Ground in Blantyre and from then on he “mimicked his songs so much although I didn’t understand some of the lyrics”.

He reminders some of them such as ‘Feel the rhythm’, ‘Everlasting Harmony’, ‘Colour Me Black’, ‘Iphupho’, Sing Me a Soweto Song’, ‘Shine On’ as a few of some of the old popular hits before he turned Gospel music.

“Steve Kekana, you had a young fan in me. Rest in peace, my music idol,” wrote Chimwendo on Facebook.

Francis Kalembera agreed, saying Kekana was very much part of his childhood and made special mention of the songs he enjoyed such ‘Bushman’, ‘We love you Africa, Hakaleje’ ‘Onketsang’ and others.

The popular singer-songwriter lost his sight at the age of five and attended a school for the blind in Polokwane, where his gift for music was born.

In his career, he recorded over 40 albums and enjoyed widespread chart success since the 70’s. He won what was then known as the SABC Black Music Award for best male vocalist in 1979 and 1980, according to South African online, The Sowetan.

South Africans also paid their tributes and Robert Marawa tweeted: “What an incredible voice he had. Grew up loving this song and its theatrics plus the vocal delivery by both him and the late Nana Coyote Motijoane. May the humble soul of Bra Steve Kekana rest in peace.

Another South African said “Kekana was a musical legend, who was multi-talented, defied the odds and became a lawyer and radio presenter despite being blind”.

Wikipedia records that the legend was born on August 4, 1958 as Tebogo Steve Kekanain Zebedia, Transvaal and began his musical career in the 1980s.

He lost his sight at the age of five, and attended a school for the blind in Petersburg where he developed a love for singing and became a member of amateur groups during the teenage years.

In total, Kekana had recorded more than 40 albums and his ‘Raising My Family’ was a big hit in Europe in 1980.His songs ‘The Bushman’ and ‘Feel So Strong’ (featuring Hotline) were hits on the Springbok Radio chart (the semi-official South African chart of the time) reaching number 13 and number 6 in 1982 and 1983 respectively.

He worked with the likes of Ray Phiri, Nana Coyote, Joe Nina and Hotline featuring PJ Thandeka Powers.

Kekana was a university graduate with B Juris and LLB degrees. He was an advocate and a lecturer in Labour Law at the University of South Africa.

His awards include more than 70 Golden Disc Awards between 1978-2021; The Best Male Vocalist Award (Radio Zulu) in 1980; The Four Outstanding Young South African (FOYSA) Award in 1984; The Ten Outstanding Young People of the World (TOYP) Award in 1985; The OKTV award in 1986; Mama Bheka Community Awards (2010) and SAMA Lifetime Achievement Award in 2018.

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