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DEATH OF FORTUNE XABA (article first published : 2003-08-22)

The Durban Arts lunch-hour concert on the City Hall Steps on August 20 was to feature upcoming artist and Steps Concert favourite Fortune Xaba. Unfortunately, he was never to appear in this concert as he died a week or so beforehand.

Born at Esikhawini, formerly Empangeni and matriculated at Nhlakanipho Kwa Mashu in 1995, Fortune was inspired by his uncle, the late acclaimed musician GTX Gologo Themba Xaba.

Whilst busking under a bridge near the Workshop, Fortune was discovered by Mbongeni Ngema, who promised him an audition in his forthcoming show Magic. He passed the audition with flying colours and went on to travel with Mbongeni Ngema’s group on a European Tour in 1995.

In 1996, Fortune won the Gala Finals of the Shell Road to Fame Competition which was held at Sun City. His prize included a total of R15 000 and a recording contract worth R20 000, as well as an overseas trip. He released two albums, working with the likes of Mthungi Namba, Lindelani Mkhize, Margaret Moshaze and Vicky Vilakazi.

Fortune was also nominated and received an award from the Unicity Mayor Obed Mlaba as best young and talented soprano saxophonist newcomer. The Durban music scene is the poorer for his passing.




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