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“I’m happy everybody is here.”

Those were singer Thami Shobede’s last words to close friend Themba Humana on Monday – just two days before he died last week.

Humana said Shobede was in high spirits and gave them hope that he will fully recover on the day before he slipped into a coma.

He said on Sunday, Shobede had asked for him to buy him lilies and he did. “He gave us hope that he will be fine. We brought him the flowers on Monday,” Humana recalled.

Humana was speaking at the memorial service for Shobede at the Johannesburg Hall on Thursday.

“Everyone was there and he was happy. Happy that we got him the flowers.”

Shedding light on the depression that is said to have led to Shobede’s death, he blamed most of it on his battle to get out of his contract with his record label Gallo. Shobede signed with Gallo in 2017.

“Thami was a breadwinner; taking care of his two sisters and mother. It happened that when we saw that the situation was getting worse [at hospital] we called Gallo.

“Gallo never responded and was never there for Thami. Thami had a contract with Gallo and wanted to get out of the contract,” Humana said.

“These are the words [from Gallo] when Thami wanted to get out of the contract ‘We have five years with you and you can’t go anywhere.

“If you want to go anywhere we need between R350k – R500k on everything we have done for you.’

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“I have been to many of Thami’s shows and we never saw Gallo there. Gallo would say, ‘Thami you had a gig, we need 20% from the money you got’.”

“Thami, from whatever he’s getting, he would share the money with his band and management.

“On top of that, he still needed to take care of his sisters and mother.”

Humana said Shobede had never received his royalties pay from Gallo since he signed with them.

He revealed that Shobede has independently recorded a song with DJ Maphorisa and Mlindo The Vocalist. But under contractual agreement, Gallo refused to release the song. He urged Gallo to release the song.

“Thami’s mother doesn’t work. Pay that song for his fans. Thami’s mother needs that money. They need a home. We are begging you,” Humana said.

Gallo last night denied most of the allegations. They said when Shobede was admitted to hospital, the company’s representative spent the whole day there “landing support and assistance to the family”.

“It is true that Thami contacted Gallo requesting to leave but he was still under contract, and after talking to him, we agreed to release a new single with him,” Gallo said in a statement.

Artists such as Vusi Nova, Karabo Mogane, Musa Sukwene, Rorisang Thandekiso and Buhle Mda were in attendance.

Shobede will be buried in his hometwon Mtubatuba on Saturday.

Source : Sowetan

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