'I saw her & just collapsed': Nichume’s heartbroken friends pay tribute at memorial
Tears flowed as mourners gathered at the Assemblies of God church in Sandton, Johannesburg, on Wednesday evening to celebrate the life of late house musician Nichume Siwundla.
The Bhutiza hitmaker's record label, Top Chap Media, said on Friday that she was found at a friend’s home on Thursday following an apparent suicide.
A close friend of the star, Buhlali Qina, said at the memorial that she was called to a friend's apartment because something had happened to Nichume.
She rushed there and said her worst fears were confirmed.
"As soon as I looked in 'Chume's face I knew. I fell to the floor and when I picked myself up, I knew I had to be strong for those she loved. We picked each other up as Nichume would pick us up without fail."
Another friend, Vuyo Jacobs, begged for Nichume not to leave them alone in grief.
"Love, please don't leave! Nichume you are love ... One day we will be okay. It may not be today or next week or next month, but we will be okay."
Manyano Madiba said Nichume had told him not to die before she did because she did not know what she would do without him.
"She told me, 'wait before I go before you go, because I don't know to live without you'. It is sad that what was a joke has come true. I lost a partner and a soul mate. I believe that she will now be standing next to me, motivating me ... I know one day we will meet again."
Nichume's younger sister, Buhle Tyantsi, cried through most of the memorial and was supported by loved ones as she joined in songs and praise to her sister.
When she got up to speak, she praised Nichume for her resilience and passion, saying she fought for what she wanted.
"Nichume had a fighting spirit. She fought for what she believed in and for the well-being of those she loved. It was an admirable trait, but to some extent also a flaw, because sometimes she failed to fight for herself in the same way and with the same spirit".
DJ Tira accompanied former Generations actor and musician Anga "NaakMusiQ" Makubalo to the stage to pay tribute to Nichume.
While Anga recounted the studio sessions he had with the young artist, DJ Tira slammed the "horrible" music industry for not doing enough for those who are struggling.
"We need to look after each other as musicians. The music industry is horrible. There is a lack of information and if you do not know where you are going it is going to be hard to make it in life. Something needs to be done, because we need to look after our artists," he said, before also mentioning the struggles of late musician HHP.