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WATCH | Friends celebrate 'visionary' Steve Kekana’s life at memorial

“I’m grateful that I was part of Steve’s life up until the end,” said fellow musician Sipho ‘Hotstix’ Mabuza.

07 July 2021 - 06:00 By chrizelda kekana
Tebogo "Steve" Kekana, "SA's Stevie Wonder", died last week Thursday.
Tebogo "Steve" Kekana, "SA's Stevie Wonder", died last week Thursday.

Loved ones and family members of iconic musician Steve Kekana gathered to celebrate his life with a memorial service on Tuesday at the Polokwane Library Gardens Auditorium in Limpopo.

Steve died last week at the age of 63.

Attending the memorial virtually, fellow musician Sipho “Hotstix” Mabuza joined the rest of Steve's friends in singing the man's praises and called him a visionary. He told the story of how the Burn Out collaboration came about and admitted there could never be enough compensation for what Steve did for the song.

“I was in a recording studio at night, like 11 o’clock in the evening. Morena, as I used to call him and he used to call me, walked in as I was making music. When he heard the song, he looked up.

“I don’t believe the session fees would ever make up for anything that Steve put in the song,” Sipho said.

Sipho said that he Steve became more than friends, when Steve went on to marry his stepsister and they became family. The musician said they grew closer as they would meet at family gatherings and continue to share stages as their music shook the world.

The Burn Out hitmaker said he performed with Steve and Joe Nina and he was truly grateful that he had that last memory before “Steve said goodnight”.

“I’m grateful that I was part of Steve’s life up until the end.”

Steve's friends and family praised him for having vision — even though he couldn’t physically see — with many saying he opened their eyes to an outlook on life that they would otherwise never have.

Sydney Maluleke, who wrote Steve's memoir Steve Kekana: The I In Me  became emotional as he recalled the man he spent a lot of time with, who constantly left him shocked with his wit, humour, intellect and humbleness.

“My memory of my childhood would not be complete without Steve’s music,” he began.

“You’ll hear in my speech that I’m avoiding using the word blind, given its negative connotations. I use visually challenged or sight problems ... On the day I met him, there were things that shocked me. First, he was able to give me directions to his house without any challenge. Upon meeting him, I was also shocked at the big, tall man he was and he had a big voice.”

Sydney said Steve had completely devoted himself to the writing of the book, saying it was a vital piece of the legacy he hoped to leave.

“In the writing of the book, I learnt the good, the bad and the ugly of Dr Steve Kekana. He was brutally honest about who he was. He was honest about everything. But most of all, I learnt that he was positive man. A very confident and courageous man, very intelligent, but most importantly he remained a very humble village boy.”

Steve wanted to preserve his legacy.

“We went about three months without talking and he called me and said, ‘Sydney ... Do you want me to die without that book being complete?’ And immediately I was like, I need to get the book done. It was as if he was prophesying that he was not going to live long. We completed the book in 2019.”