By Richmore Tera
The Magaya family has been dealt another huge blow following the death of yet another member of their family, Khumbulani Magaya who passed away on Friday last week.
Khumbulani – who was 42 and a member of the famed choral group Vabati VaJehovah – died at his rural home of Mhondoro after a long illness. He becomes the third family member from the popular apostolic accappella music group to die within a space of five years after his two younger brothers Wiseman and Timothy passed on in 2007 and 2009 respectively.
Wiseman also fell sick before passing on while Timothy died in a horrific road accident. According to Richard Magaya, a cousin to the late vocalist, Khumbulani had been sick since 2004 and his health had been unstable since then.
“It started in 2004 way before Timothy and Wiseman had died. Vaingogara vachinzwa makumbo nemuchest (His legs were swollen and he had chest problems). Sometimes his poor health would not permit him to record some albums with the rest of the group,” Richard said.
But all hell finally broke loose last week when Khumbulani was rushed to Harare Hospital after his condition worsened. “He only stayed in hospital for four days before being discharged after all efforts to help in his recovery failed.
“He was then discharged and we took him to Mhondoro where he finally died and was buried on Sunday,” Richard said. Richard lamented how his uncle’s death had robbed the group of a talented vocalist who was also a good leader.
“He was a great musician and we are in great pain, considering that he was one of the elder members in the group together with Mamrod, who is now guiding us. It is also a pity that all our elders are gone. However, we will soldier on,” Richard said.
Emion Sibindi, the director of Metro Studios, the company to which Vabati VaJehovha is signed, described Khumbulani’s death as a big blow to the music fraternity.
“Yes, he has been ill for some time and seldom visited the studio because of ill health. The void that his death has created is very difficult to fill. He had his own unique talent and voice and this is a big blow not only to the group but also to the entire music fraternity.
“I hope that they can find someone who can replace him in the group and move on,” Sibindi said.
Born on October 16, 1969 in Mhondoro, Khumbulani featured on 10 of the 12 albums that Vabati VaJehovha released.
These include their first album “Mweya Mutsvene WaMwari” which announced the arrival of the group to mainstream music in 1999, “Mirai Naye Jesu” (2007), “Ndivanze Muponesi” (2009) and “Tirimo Munzira” released last year.
He did the lead vocals on a number of hit songs including the song “Vana Vedu” which was his last before his death. The song has an accompanying video featuring the late Khumbulani and other members of the group.
He is survived by his wife Ellen and five children.