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Thursday, 14 December 2023 10:40

Zahara described as a national treasure and a flower of the nation.

By Lehlohonolo Lehana.

Fans, friends, industry colleagues and family members gathered at Rhema Bible Church to pay their respects to award-winning singer and reality TV star Zahara on Thursday. 

The singer, real name Bulelwa Mkutukana, was surrounded by her family and loved ones when she died on Monday at the age of 36, according to a statement posted on her Instagram profile.

"It is with heavy hearts and deepest sorrow that we announce the passing of our beloved daughter, sister, and friend, Zahara," read a statement from her family on Tuesday.

"She was a pure light, and an even purer heart, in this world - a beacon of hope, a gift, and a blessing to us and countless people around the world."

Musicians such as Dr Malinga, Vusi Nova, Ringo Madlingozi, Judith Sephuma and Brenda Mntambo performed in honour of the late musician.

TV host Unathi Mankayi was the master of ceremony during the celebration of Zahara's life.

She welcomed everyone with gratitude and warmth. The presenter said everyone who came to celebrate Zahara must know that they are here to thank her.

"We are all here to celebrate her life. We must just rejoice and remember her as Bulelwa," she said.

Zahara's sister Lumka Mkutukana, said she was called by the musician's doctor to come and see her. She said they were told that anytime she would pass away.

Lumka said they witnessed her sister take her last breath in hospital.

Gauteng Premier Panyaza Lesufi has wished comfort and healing on the family of the late Afro-Soul Musician.

Lesufi described the multi-award-winning artist as a national treasure, and a flower of the nation.

"In Zahara, the highly talented singer, a dedicated South African, a powerful voice, a guitarist of note but above all a activist in her on rights.

Media personality Somizi Mhlongo gave an acerbic speech that had the most inside the Rhema auditorium pondering on things they did and could've done for the late singer while she was still alive.

"We have failed her as an industry, as friends. We have failed her. We owe her an apology. I'm one of the people that owe her an apology," said Mhlongo.

He confessed that a few years ago while hosting the South African Music Awards (Samas) he joked about Zahara's drinking, which she took offence to.

"Only later in years you realise what you say to people – how you make people feel is very important. Luckily we had time to reconcile and become friends again," said Mhlongo.

Zahara's husband Mpho Xaba took to the podium recalling how he met the singer, who comforted him in a dark time. He joked about how Zahara planned to speak about their love journey on their wedding day to say how he played hard to get. 

Mpho said they later found each other again and he expressed his love to her in letters and videos.

Read his last love letter to Zahara. 

To my dearly departed love. Words fail me. The void you have imposed on me has immeasurable depth. What brewed scepticism and questions as well as an iniquity to those who felt like they held a high moral ground to the institution of love, inadvertently led to the inception of a love so strong. Of adoration, affection, fondness, attachment, passion, infatuation, care, devotion, and all things warm and fuzzy."

I will forever cherish all the moments I got to spend with you. When we first met, you took me out of a deep, dark place, and you restored my faith in love again. You never judged me harshly, but rather cautioned and counselled me. And thereafter you decided to keep me for yourself. If it were up to you, you would probably be living under my skin right now. So many plans, so many fond memories, however fate decreed otherwise. On behalf of the children, Keamogetwe and Kamogelo, we will forever love you. As for me, I will search for you through one thousand worlds and ten thousand lifetimes until I find you.

Zahara's funeral will be held in Phumlani Informal settlement in East London next week Saturday, 23 December. 

Live-stream Zahara's memorial service below:

Video Courtesy of SABC.