R.I.P. Afro-pop singer, Songwriter & Producer, Robbie Malinga

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Music icon Robbie Malinga
RIP Music icon Robbie Malinga

Tributes continues to pour in for the Afro-pop singer, songwriter and producer, Robbie Malinga who died on Christmas Day at his home in the presence of his entire family, whom the singer had invited for lunch.

President Jacob Zuma has extended his heartfelt condolences on the passing of veteran musician, Mr Robbie Malinga, who passed on Christmas day.

Mr Malinga’s rise to fame coincided with the increasing popularity of kwaito music in the 1990’s. He played a role in shaping the genre.

“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 thoughts and prayers during this trying period. May his soul rest in peace,” President Zuma said.

The Recording Industry of South Africa (RiSA) also extended condolences to his family, especially his wife Ann and their two children, and his collaborators and colleagues in the music business.

“To say Robbie Malinga’s death is a loss will be an understatement. 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 hit makers in this country.

“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,” said RiSA CEO Nhlanhla Sibisi.

The hashtag #RIPRobbieMalinga has continued to trend on Twitter with messages of condolences from South Africans from all walks of life flooding social media since his passing.

Malinga, who is from Meadowlands, Soweto, started his career in the 90s playing keyboard for musician Freddie Gwala of Amadamara fame and the group Platform 1.

He was one of the kwaito pioneers with his group Vardos from the East Rand. His solo outing Insimbi placed him in the top league of the genre. He teamed up with Doc Shebeleza to start RoboDoc in 1999 producing monster hits like Ebumnandini and Skumfete.

The gravel-voiced crooner was a highly decorated SA Music Award winner, taking home top honours including Best Producer with his own projects as well as recordings he either composed, arranged, produced or sang in – in some cases he would do all four as a mark of his versatility and talent.

As a producer, he contributed to shaping the careers of artists like Zahara, Brickz, Brown Dash, Kabelo Mabalane, Arthur Mafokate, Ntando, Nhlanhla Nciza, Izinyoka, Mzekezeke and Sbu of Amalawyer fame. He helped discover Malaika.

Robbie worked with Lebo M to remix Lion King to Umhlaba Wabantu for local audiences. He also produced Bhakaniya, the Orlando Pirates theme song for their 70th anniversary celebrations.

He also lent his magic to superstar group Stimela, the late great Jabu Khanyile and gospel veteran Deborah Fraser.

Some of his more recent hits include duets with musicians Naima Kay with the songs Sokwenzenjani and Sweetie Lavo, Kelly Khumalo with Sobabili and Baby Please, Musa Sukwene with Mthande and Karabo Mogane with the song Sondela.

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