Heritage loses activists

Saba with Rev Jesse Jackson at the SATMA

It is sad for the heritage and culture sector to lose yet another activist in a space of less than two weeks. The multi-award winning radio presenter and a promoter of traditional music, Saba “Zawu Zawu” Mbixane, could not be resuscitated 17 days after  was admitted to the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) at the Nelson Mandela Central Hospital (NMCH) earlier this month.

A week ago, Adv Sonwabile Mancotywa was sharing the news of Mbixane’s accident at the memorial service of

Dr Tembeka Nkamba Van Wyk

Dr Tembeka Nkamba Van Wyk who was also a dedicated ambassador and promoter of culture is South Africa and abroad. Dr Van Wyk was buried on 21 February 2015 in Pretoria. She established several craft entrepreneur ventures and researched as well as published on cultural crafts.

“Mbixane brought life to the category of the DJs in which he was competing for the last six years in the South African Traditional Music Awards (SATMA). It never occurred to us when we awards with the founder, Dumisane Goba, that giants like Saba will arise to inspire the entire country through traditional music. And when we were looking out for more vibrancy in the competition for this year’s SATMA and economic beneficiation for the artists of this genre of music, he left us. No one will ever fill his space in the same way that he did. May his should rest in peace”, says Adv Sonwabile Mancotywa.

Mbixane was declared brain-dead and placed on life support machines after suffering head injuries following a motorbike accident while travelling on a dirt road between Cabazi and Zihlahleni villages outside Mt Frere on February 9. He was initially admitted to the Madzikane kaZulu Hospital before an Emergency Medical Services helicopter flew him to NMCH.


Saba received the South African Traditional Music Achievement Awards six times and four of them in consecutive years and was the first radio presenter to receive the prize of a vehicle for his work in 2013 worth about R300 000. SABA was the only DJ which was playing music from all ethnic backgrounds. In 2014 he received more than 400 000 votes as the best DJ of the Year and his programme received more than 200 000 votes as Traditional Radio Programme of the Year (Lavuth’bhayi under uMhlobo Wenene FM – SABC Radio Station).

Mbixane will be buried in his home village, Mandileni, outside Mount Frere. He is survived by his mother, wife, brother, three sisters and four children.

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