Final farewell for Mama Kaap

Sylvia Mdunyelwa’s family and friends were happy that she had been recognised for her work last year.

Iconic jazz singer and former broadcaster Mam’ Sylvia Ncediwe Mdunyelwa was honoured by family, close friends and colleagues last Thursday evening in her hometown of Langa before being laid to rest on Saturday September 2.

Mama Kaap, as she was affectionately known, died on August 25 after a long battle with illness.

Her three children, Christie, Mzubanzi and Mahlubandile, remembered and honoured their mother in touching tributes during the memorial service.

Before praising his mother, her last born, Hlubi started by pleading to the musicians to support each other and give flowers to each other while they are still alive. He said he was delighted that as a family they had managed to honour their mother while she was alive last year.

“We wanted her to smell the flowers while she was alive. The attendance was not as good as this one. That is not good. I would have been happy to see such a big attendance like this one. She dedicated her life to entertaining us. She is a global icon. But I am happy we honoured her,” said Hlubi.

He described his mother as an outspoken person, a community builder and a Langa resident before she was a music and a global icon.

He thanked his mom for always being the one to stand by her children’s side, and for her teachings and life ethics.

Banzi said their mom was a friend and a mentor to them. He said he was happy that she left them with the ability to be independent.

“What gives me peace is that when she passed on I dreamt of her and in the dream I was talking to Khwezi. What I then got to hear is that the same dream touched my sister. That means she connected with my spirit,” he said.

He also described her as a good person who could be loud.

“When you do a silly thing, it was easy for her to use the k*k word. But we loved her. Had I got a gig in Joburg or elsewhere today, I would not have been here today. That is because of her teachings. She always told me to be independent and not to stop doing my things for things like this,” he said.

Singer and a product of Mama Kaap, Fancy Galada, said there was alot she could say about Ms Mdunyelwa. “She was my mother. My singing career started at her two-roomed house. She used to watch us and asithuka when we sang out of note. Athi ayikho lokaka niyiculayo. I have been groomed by the best. I’m the fortunate one. She has done a lot for Langa. It’s hard to talk about her. Christie, Banzi, Hlubi and Khwezi thanks for giving us sisi Ncediwe,” she said.

Music industry veteran, Victor Masondo also spoke highly about Ms Mdunyelwa. Mr Masondo rendered music items which he said were composed by her. He said now that she is gone the veterans need to pass the baton to the next generation.

“I stand here as a humble son. Thank you for the gift of Sylvia. I stand here to testify that I’m the product of Mama Sylvia. Let’s keep the legacy alive,” he said.

After the speeches, and all was said and done, it was time for music. Mama Kaap was then laid to rest on Saturday in Langa.

Last week Ms Mdunyelwa’s widower, Khwezi “Bhele” Kobus had told Vukani that he had hoped she would come back home from the hospital and that he misses his best friend.

Mahlubandile Khwebulana making his speech at the memorial service of his mom, Sylvia Mdunyelwa.
Sylvia Mdunyelwa’s three children from left, Mhlubandile, Christie and Mzubanzi.