Vhahangwele Nemakonde
Digital Journalist
5 minute read
13 Jul 2017
9:56 am

How Mzwakhe Mbuli allegedly tried to make money out of Mandoza’s funeral

Vhahangwele Nemakonde

The poet has already given an interview on Phiri's death, raising questions as to what his intentions are.

THE "People's Poet", Mzwakhe Mbuli at University of Johannesburg, Soweto Campus, 8 January 2015, during the memorial service of Palesa Madiba whose bones were found three years after she went missing. Picture: Nigel Sibanda

Poet Mzwakhe Mbuli has found himself on the wrong side of Twitter after a user, presumably late Mandoza’s close relative, ‘exposed’ his money-making schemes.

Following musician Ray Phiri’s death on Wednesday, Mbuli had an interview with eNCA reacting to the news. He said the country had lost a legend who could not be replaced.

However, his interview landed him in hot water after Twitter accused him of using celebrities’ deaths to shine. Apparently the poet was already thinking of every word that rhymes with ‘Ray’ so he could present it at the funeral as the family spokesperson.

However, what landed him on the trends list on Twitter was Thabiso Mosia, who, in a series of tweets, accused Mbuli of using celeb funerals as a money-making scheme.

Mosia said that although he was “saddened” by Phiri’s death, what was worse about the news was that Mbuli was already giving interviews. He claimed the poet was only there to “steal money”.

“With all due respect to the family. Mzwakhe might be a family friend. But trust me, now he’s there to steal. He has no good intentions at all.”

This is how he allegedly tried to make money out of Mandoza’s funeral, according to Mosia:

“Part of the scam. They ask the family how they can help (venue hire, food, transport, sound). They then go to ministers/MECs to ask for the money.

“The ministers/MEC then give them the money. But they keep most of it and pretend they didn’t get enough. Family then must start all over again.

“Mzwakhe wanted 70k to organise sound for MDZ funeral. We(fam) said no because @ArthurMafokate was offering his sound for free. Mzwakhe threw a fit.

“Mzwakhe and his cronies then dropped their sound price to 35k. We still said no. They went berserk and went to consult outside. I WAS THERE.

“Before going outside Mzwakhe said to his cronies ‘Asambeni akho Mali la, Uyasbulala u @ArthurMafokate ngento za Mahala (let’s go, there’s no money here. Arthur Mafokate is killing our business with his free service)’.

“I personally asked Mzwakhe why he would even want a penny to provide sound for a fellow musician. Surely they could provide free like Arthur.

“Mzwakhe told us that he had secured Standard Bank Arena for MDZ memorial. We were relieved until I asked them for proof.

“Day before MDZ memorial they still couldn’t provide proof. I drove to SB Arena only to find management hadn’t even spoken to them. Was shocked.

“S Bank Arena told me they do this all the time and we should not trust them. That time they’d gone to three ministers/MEC’s asking for 100k each.

“Cut a long story short. We didn’t see that 200k. Family once again had to pay the full 90k for venue hire because time was running out.

“Minister [Nathi] Mthethwa [of arts and culture] is the only one that didn’t give them 100k cos his advisor contacted us first to ask if they should give Mzwakhe the money.

“Mzwakhe also has a scam involving the funeral program and who speaks/peaches/performs. This is one of the saddest because pastors are involved.

“MDZ funeral ran 55 minutes late because Mzwakhe (MC) put his own pastors/ singers on the programme. And at Grace [Bible Church] there’s a fine for being over time.

“Mzwakhe asks pastors/singers for money so he can put them in the program for what he terms ‘exposure’. He didn’t want the family Rev to preach!

“I was in that meeting to finalise the program. Funeral day I didn’t know half the pastors on stage and those who sang. They weren’t on programme.

“We told him the family pastor had been in the house the whole week. He said he’s a small Rev we needed someone big. We said no but he continued.

“Mzwakhe still brought his own sound guy for the funeral despite Arthur offering for free. Sound guy was mentioned 17 times by MC..’Exposure’.

“Look at the MDZ funeral video and see my reaction when Mzwakhe calls me on stage. He knows where we stand. I don’t mince my words.

“I still have a copy of MDZ funeral program. Will post it when I get back to SA and compare it to the people who preached/sang that day.

“At one point Mzwakhe had the decency to tell me that he’d made ‘good business’ at David Masondo (Soul Brothers) funeral cos he was in charge.

“MEC Faith’s Mazibuko’s people paid Grace directly for funeral. They showed us the invoice. Mzwakhe was livid saying payments must go through him.

“Mzwakhe told the MEC’s reps that he organised the venue and spoke to the MEC therefore the money must go to him. The reps stood their ground.

“Kamnandi everything I’ve said was put in record last year already, after the funeral There has yet to be progress or Mzwakhe disputing it.”

The Citizen contacted the poet on Thursday morning and he denied all the allegations made against him. Mbuli said it was the family who had asked him to be an MC at Mandoza’s funeral. He said he did not personally make any changes to the programme but was given instructions by a family representative on the day of the funeral on the changes to be made.

Mbuli said he did not even charge the family for being an MC  – everything he did was for free.

On venue issues, Mbuli said he was “not involved in arranging the Standard Bank Arena”, he only helped organise the Grace Bible Church as a venue after being called by the family the day before asking for his help.

Another thing he helped do was to “mobilise” artists to play their role.

Mbuli also denied receiving money from any minister.

Everything Mbuli did was to help the family, and, according to him, Mandoza’s uncles even called him after the funeral and “thanked” him “for handling things very well”.

Also read:

‘Mzwakhe Mbuli is trying to rob Mandoza from the grave’