S’fiso Ncwane: Live at the Durban ICC Part 2
R89.95 download at cumbooks.co.za.
Gospel lovers are still reeling in shock and pain after the death of S’fiso Ncwane in December last year. He had been admitted to the Life Fourways Private Hospital due to a suspected kidney ailment.
I noticed that people were still grieving when I asked a friend at a car wash to play Ncwane’s latest and possibly last released album, Live at the Durban ICC Part 2. People I’ve known to be die-hard fans of secular music stopped to listen. They talked in hushed tones, asking which CD this was and whether it was the last that would ever be released, as if his funeral had not even taken place. I just knew it would be hard to give this one a fair review.
• Ncwane was born in Mtwalume, KwaZulu-Natal, in 1979. He shot to fame for his hit song Kulungile Baba (roughly translated as “If it’s your will Almighty, then it’s all right”) and, as if to close a chapter of his relationship with God, in this offering one of his special songs is.
The most moving song is Igama Lenkosi, featuring the great Rebecca Malope, which made one friend bemoan Ncwane’s seemingly premature death when "the world had hardly appreciated his talent".
"There was still a lot more coming from him, I believe," said the young woman, fighting back her tears.
It’s difficult to tell whether people are appreciating the sing-along songs for what they are or whether they’re being too sentimental.
In 2011, Kulungile Baba went multiplatinum in just under two years, selling 328 000 copies. It was nominated as song of the year at the Crown Gospel Music Awards, and won the 2013 Sama Record of the Year award and an Agma Award (London-based gospel music awards).
On the CD, Ncwane took the opportunity to thank the choir that he had put together for the live recording, saying it felt like God selected the choristers Himself. A DVD was also produced during the recording, and the package should be great, especially for those who want something unique to remember him by.
There is a long list of people he selected to thank for this project, which is included in the CD cover, as if he had a premonition that the project could be his last. This is not often done by musicians, but he painstakingly named everyone involved, and those who played a role in the development of his career, as well as his spiritual growth.
The CD is well put together and the songs are not adopted from hymns. The music is written and arranged to create a story of an event planned to impress a king.