WATCH | Thami Shobede’s mom pens a heartfelt letter to her son
The star's friends lambaste the industry for treating him badly...
Tears flowed at the Assemblies of God hall in Sandton on Wednesday as fans, friends and family gathered to celebrate the life of Idols SA runner-up Thami Shobede, with a heartbreaking letter from his mother to the star being read.
Thami died at Kalafong Hospital in Pretoria last Thursday at the age of 31.
He made a name for himself on season 12 of the popular TV music competition in 2016.
The memorial service was filled with emotion and several times the star's mother Mantombi Buthelezi could be heard sobbing loudly.
'I'll forever praise God for giving me a son like you"
Dressed in black, Mantombi sat with tissues in hand as a letter to her son was read on stage.
In it Mantombi said that Thami was a breadwinner and said she would forever praise God for giving her a son like him.
"I know you had big dreams and goals to achieve but it was God (who took you from us). You are still with us. You will give me the power and energy and blessing to do everything that you wanted to do for us. I will do my best to fulfill your goals.
"You were my friend and you took care of your siblings. I will forever praise God for giving me a son like you. Go well my son. Heaven has gained an angel. Rest well. I love you."
Thami's sister breaks down
Thami's sister also delivered an emotional address, sobbing as she reflected on the example her brother was to her.
"My heart is bleeding with his passing. He was a father and did everything for me. I wish he had a better job than what he was doing. I didn't know that God would take him away. I will always love him and he will always be in my heart."
She said that Thami asked about her before he died last week and said she was told about his passing from the media.
"My friend told me that my brother is no more but I didn't believe her. When I got home I still didn't believe. I tried to clean the house but it was hard and I saw RIP messages from Twitter," she added.
Thami's friend lambastes star's record label
One of Thami's close friends Themba Humana used part of his address to lambaste Thami's record label, Gallo Records and called on them to pay the artiste's royalties to his struggling family.
He claimed that the record label did not respond to messages telling them that Thami was in hospital and only visited on Thursday, yet were the first to comment about his death.
Themba further claimed that Thami had wanted to leave the label but was allegedly told he could only leave if he paid "between R350k – R500k."
General manager of Gallo, Rob Cowling denied the claims in a statement to TshisaLIVE and said the company’s representative spent the whole day of Thursday "lending support and assistance to the family".
Rob said although Thami had requested to leave the label, the two parties had reached an agreement afterwards.
Radio is also to blame
In an address earlier in the afternoon, Gallo's representative Carol Morabe said that other parties beyond record labels had to answer for how they treated Thami.
She claimed the label had submitted his music to radio stations and had been rejected until he had died.
"They wait until Thami passes away. Now Thami is gone, now they want to play the song, they can't even find it on the system."
A funeral service will be held in Thami's honour in his hometown of Mtubatuba in northern KZN on Saturday.