Zahara died in December after spending a little over two weeks in the hospital.
Life & Arts

Zahara’s family to host a concert to save her house

THE entertainment industry can be a cold one to be in, but amazing things can happen when artists band together for a good cause.

The family of the late Afro-soul singer Zahara is hoping the latter will happen as they host a benefit concert to try and save her Roodepoort home.

Zahara died in December after spending a little over two weeks in the hospital. Her house had been auctioned in November already, but the property development company that bought the house felt sorry for the family and allowed them to stay there while they prepared for the funeral.

The company’s Marten Bekker told Drum that they also gave the family time to try raise money to buy the house back, but now they are bleeding money and have given the family until the end of April to buy the house or vacate.

“Yes, we did give them more time. But we really cannot extend after that,” he says. One of Zahara’s older sisters, Bandezwa Mkutukana-Febana says they have reached out to artists to perform at the concert in efforts to raise funds for the house.

“We have booked Orient Theatre (in East London), but we have not paid for it, we are hoping a Good Samaritan can help us secure the venue. We have also reached out to artists, asking them to perform at the event, but we cannot pay them their usual rate, we will give them what we have termed ‘cold drink’ money.

“We cannot afford to pay them what they deserve, but they have been kind enough to say they will assist us because they loved Zahara too.” The event will be hosted by Lusanda Mbane and will feature artists like Vusi Nova, Khanyisa Sabuka, Butho Vuthela, Ivory Sikepe and Nathi Mankayi. Vusi, who has been by the family’s side says he would do anything for Zahara.

 “Bulelwa was more than just my friend. She was my sister. I do not even want the cold drink the family is offering. I promised her that I would take care of her family and I promised them that I would take care of them the best way I can. I have done what I can and I will continue to do so.

“For me, this is for them to have something tangible that belonged to her. What they do with the house afterwards is their decision as her family. I am just here to support them however I can.” Eastern Cape gospel singer Khanyisa Sabuka says the invitation to sing at the concert came as she was thinking of and planning to visit the family.

“It is important to visit families after they have had a bereavement. This is so that they know they are still in your thoughts and prayers even after the funeral. So when Zahara’s sister asked me to perform, I said yes with no hesitation.

“I feel like we should help the family in whatever way we can. We knew and loved Zahara, this is indirectly for her that we are helping her family.” There have been people who have asked why the family does not let the house go, and how they intended to maintain it and pay for the rates once they buy it back.

Khanyisa says this is a short-sighted view. “We cannot let go of a house just because of rates. We do not know what plans the family has for those rates. We also cannot equate rates to a bond.

“People need to remember that the house has sentimental value to the family, it is not just brick and mortar. They have memories in that house, some sad and others happy, but it is of great value to them. “Being able to keep the house may even bring them the healing they need.

Zahara did not have children. Besides her music, her house is the only other thing they have of hers.” Lusanda says this is a free gig she has no problem doing. “Zahara was my little sister. Yes, I do not come cheap, but when it comes to the people I love, money is the last thing on my mind. I have been involved with the house before.

Now that I hear that my help only worked for a little while, I am doing everything in my power to be there for the family and assist them in any way possible. “This is something she fought hard for when she was alive and I am doing my bit to help continue that fight.” — Drum

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