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POPULAR maskandi singer Khulekani Mseleku, aka Mgqumeni, has died at the age of 27.
Expressing shock at the news of his death, Weziwe Thusi, provincial MEC for Arts, Culture, Sport and Recreation, described Mgqumeni as a talented musician who died before his time. “Although he had been battling ill health for some time, he recently showed signs of recovery,” she said in a statement. “One thought he’d be back to entertain his fans.
“I believe he died too soon and his absence will be felt for some time to come in the maskandi music fraternity. He had shown great talent and contributed immensely towards developing and promoting maskandi music.”
The Nqutu-born Mgqumeni released his fifth album Magic last year and it sold 78 000 copies within a month of its release. He was also the producer and composer of six successful maskandi groups: Amagcokama, Umgqumeni, Ithwasa Lami, Abakwethu, Idlamanzi and Ogezo.
His career was not without controversy. Earlier this year, Mgqumeni’s music was taken off the playlist of Ukhozi FM as a result of the seven-year feud with fellow maskandi music heavyweight Mtshengiseni Gcwensa, which at one point led to fisticuffs on stage.
At the time of the ban, Mgqumeni was using the name Mgqumeni Khumalo. It was reported that the feud was resolved recently.
Mgqumeni began singing maskandi with groups such as Amatshitshi Amhlophe, Ubuhle Begubasi and Umlamu Wami, which were owned by his late uncle, producer Simon Mahawukela Mseleku. Mgqumeni
He launched his solo career in 2003 with the album Easy Go, Easy Come.