The music industry is in shock following the death of award-winning hip-hop artist Linda Mkhize, aka ProKid, who died on Wednesday after a reported seizure.
A family statement reads: “The renowned artist died on Wednesday night while visiting friends in the Johannesburg CBD. Paramedics were called to assist Mkhize but failed to revive him. They did their best to revive him to no avail and called his time of death at 8.38pm”.
Fellow hip-hop artists and his fans, who described him as a pioneer and a motivation to other artists, have expressed their sadness and condolences to the family.
Artists Slikour (Skwatta Kamp), JR, AKA, Blaklez and ProVerb all paid tribute to the “No 1 Soweto Boy”, as he referred to himself.
Blaklez, who previously collaborated with ProKid, said: “I’m very sad for the hip-hop fraternity, for his family. Hip-hop has lost its day one. Pro is South Africa’s hip-hop poster child, because before South African hip-hop became a commercial thing, he was one of the guys that actually broke though, rapping in vernacular, isiZulu, and telling kasi stories with this music.
“His signature was his voice and his use of language; he was just incredible, and we grew up looking up to him. He was hip-hop in the full sense of the word. He was South African hip-hop and for many years when his name came up, you thought South African hip-hop.”
Slikour wrote on Twitter: “Dankie San you made ghetto metaphors and punch-lines seem effortless; you birthed a whole generation of ‘spitters’ that were inspired by your style. A rap pioneer; word engineer; top 5 dead or alive.”
TV personality and fellow hip-hop star ProVerb wrote: “Praying the news is not true, but if it is then my brother, I wish you safe passage into heaven. You were indeed a pioneer, a legend and one incredible Emcee. For the record I never considered you a ProKid but rather a ProKing.”
Arts and Culture Minister Nathi Mthethwa said on Twitter: “We’re deeply saddened by the tragic passing of a lyrical genius, pioneering hip-hop artist, Linda Mkhize.
“ProKid took rapping in African languages to great heights and he will go down as one of the greatest and most influential hip-hop Artists of his generation.”
Zanele kaMagwaza-Msibi, leader of National Freedom Party, yesterday described Mkhize as an exceptional breed and an innovator, who was always devoted to his craft and wanted to shine.
“The news of his untimely death came as a shock to me because we were never informed that he was not well. Making it worse is the fact that he was such a young, yet talented musician,” said Magwaza-Msibi. “It would be recalled that the likes of ProKid were trendsetters in this genre of music because they were among those who actually introduced it to the youth of our country and took it to the level it is at today.”
The 37-year-old’s albums, the 2005 debut Heads and Tales, Dankie San in 2007, and Snakes & Ladders in 2009, won the Channel O Music Video Awards and the HYPE Awards.
He is survived by his mother Fikile, his father Zwelakhe Kheswa, wife Ayanda, three-year-old daughter Nonkanyezi, his brothers and his extended family.
The funeral arrangements will be announced soon, the family said.