‘I’m heartbroken like everyone else’- DJ Sbu on Zahara’s death
Zahara was signed under TS Records, which was co-owned by DJ Sbu and TK Nciza.
DJ Sbu has spoken for the first time since the passing of Zahara. Picture: djsbulive/Instagram
DJ Sbu has spoken for the first time since the passing of Zahara. The media personality, together with former business partner TK Nciza has been dragged for allegedly exploiting Zahara while she was signed under their record label TS Records.
“I found out yesterday just like everybody else, I was shocked as well. I’m heartbroken like everyone else,” said DJ Sbu, whose real name is Sbusiso Leope.
The entrepreneur spoke to the SABC on Wednesday morning after being silence, despite media requests since Zahara’s passing on Monday night.
Shouldering the blame
In his chat with the State broadcaster DJ Sbu defended himself against the accusations labelled at him and Nciza, who is now ANC Gauteng provincial secretary.
“We started working with her in 2011 and I would like South Africans to remember her as one of the most talented singers we’ve ever had in this country,” said DJ Sbu.
He and Nciza have been accused of exploiting Zahara when the singer was signed to their stable TS Records between 2011 and 2016 when she eventually decided to leave the record company. TS Records was closed down a year later in 2017.
“We had great work together, we had great moments. I was like a bigger brother to her; she was like my younger sister. I also do know, despite what is out there in the public, people might be mad, might want somebody to blame,” shared DJ Sbu.
“For now, a lot of people are saying I’m to blame and they are blaming me, even though I am not. But having worked in the public eye for so long, I understand how we are as people and as South Africans, especially when we love our own.”
The bigger brother
“It’s okay, let’s be angry, let’s be sad let’s mourn, let’s grieve. I’m also grieving as well but as much as I’m grieving, you also get a lot of people sending message out there on social media and that’s fine, as the bigger brother I will take all of your cries, all of your complaints.”
In 2019 the late singer went to the media to say the business partners didn’t pay her what she was due.
“I want my money back, all of it. Many artists suffer in silence, suffer depression and ultimately die paupers. I won’t be a statistic. I will speak out,” said Zahara back then.
“She needs prayers. I’ve not worked with her for three years,” said Nciza in 2019, responding to the allegations.
“Now that things are going bad she wants to make an excuse and point fingers,” said the former record executive.
DJ Sbu confirmed that Zahara owned her music and that all royalties go directly to her.
“With her royalties, they are taken care of accordingly with the company she was working with, which is Warner. I don’t think I’m at liberty to say what’s gonna happen to her royalties because she was not signed under me. I would like for her record company to speak out and share some of the things.”
“As far as our part is concerned, it’s documented we’ve got agreements, we’ve got lawyers, everything is intact and that will be handled accordingly when the time comes,” averred DJ Sbu.
“When she first came out a lot of people were saying, in the industry, copies don’t sell anymore. The industry is dead. Zahara is one of the last people to sell as much as she did at the time,” said Sbu.
Zahara’s 2011 debut album Lolilwe was certified double platinum 17 days after its release and went on to sell in excess of 100 000 copies, scooping eight Samas.
“Her songs reverberated in all households in South Africa, in cars…a star was born,” said the media personality.
“Her first album broke records; it was one of the biggest albums this country has ever seen. Artists release music, one or two or three songs will be nice, Zahara’s albums … the whole album is nice, you’ll only maybe not like one or two,” said DJ Sbu of Zahara’s discography.
Including her debut album, Zahara released three albums under TS Records.
Laying her to rest
Sbu said he first visited Zahara’s home on Tuesday, as it’s done in African customs and traditions.
“Upon arriving at sis’Bulelwa’s [Zahara] home her family was there, her friends were there, industry peers and musicians and the Minister of Arts and Culture was there. I found a lot of people who came to pay their respects,” said the former YFM and Metro FM radio jock.
Dj Sbu also confirmed a memorial service for the deceased muso will take place at Rhema Bible Church in Randburg on Thursday.
“Her final resting place will be in the Eastern Cape which is her place of birth. The funeral will be on the 23rd just two days before Christmas.”