15 January 2019

South Africa: Obituary, Rip - Dan Tshanda, SA's Unrecognised Legend

Johannesburg — THE biblical saying that a prophet is not without honour but in his own country rings true regarding the South African music legend, Daniel Tshanda, who is to be buried in Johannesburg on Friday, 18th January.

The musician-cum-producer died in Sandton on January 5 after heart failure.

While condolences have poured in from colleagues in the industry and fans, there is no doubt the legend, who would have turned 55 at the end of this month, was somehow unacknowledged in his own country.

Such was the lack of recognition of his incredible contribution to the local scene that his death occurred unnoticed by media in his country.

News sites in neighbouring countries were first to run articles about his passing on.

South African media had to rely on copy from foreign-based channels to update their audience.

Suffice to say the now-deceased attained legendary status in neighbouring countries such as Botswana, Namibia and Zimbabwe- a status he has achieved in his home country only after his demise.

Tshanda was a household name in those countries.

While he would struggle for a following in South Africa, where he thus held few live shows, Tshanda and his protégés- including Splash, which he fronted, Dalom Kids, Matshikos, Patricia Majalisa and Peacock- enjoyed cult status outside borders.

They would perform at sold-out stadia particularly in the Zimbabwean city of Bulawayo.

It had become tradition for Tshanda and his groups to perform at the town (Bulawayo) every festive season.

From the era of vinyl records, through compact discs to latest file storage cards, he had a following that cut across generations.

In South Africa, the only places you would fancy hearing music from Splash, Dalom Kids, Matshikos and Majalisa are areas largely populated by migrants (especially Zimbabweans, Malawians, Mozambicans and Zambians), mostly Hillbrow, Berea and Yeoville.

Hence the mood was as sombre as it was in Bulawayo, Botswana and Namibia as news broke through the legend had passed on. His musical beat blazes on in these areas in celebration of his contribution to music.

Tshanda broke into the mid-1980s but his breakthrough came with Splash after releasing the album titled "Peacock" in 1986.

This paved way for decades long career that saw Splash average an album per year, until the last offering, "Siyazenzela" in 2016.

Most of the albums where blockbusters in neighbouring countries, earning him the nickname, "The Hit Machine."

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