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The peculiar tale of MaBrr's ashes

2013-05-12 16:10
Johannesburg - What do Brenda Fassie's missing ashes, one of Nelson Mandela's grandsons and superstar rapper will.i.am have in common?

Well, they all feature in just an average month in the life of troubled musician Bongani Fassie.

It was a decade ago this week since Fassie's famous mother died, and it has emerged that the 29-year-old has resorted to carrying her ashes around with him wherever he goes.

At one point, a promoter who has worked with Fassie told City Press that he once forgot the ashes in Cape Town.

"Brenda's ashes were left in Cape Town and had to be picked up in Langa and transported back to Johannesburg on a special trip," said the promoter, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

Fassie has angrily denied losing the ashes, but he hasn't denied that he carries them around. "It is false that I lost them. I'm not that careless to lose the ashes. Like, who does that? Wow," he said.

Ndaba Mandela

One of Madiba's grandchildren, Ndaba Mandela, has been dragged into Fassie's strange and allegedly ­­­­self-destructive orbit.

Sources close to Fassie told City Press the rapper had stayed briefly with Mandela, but was allegedly thrown out. One source alleged that Mandela had refused to return the ashes and some of Fassie's personal items to his disgraced house guest.

Mandela confirmed part of the story. "He's got his mother's ashes and yes, he did stay with me for a while but I saw him a week ago at his place in Fourways," he said.

Adding to the drama in his life, Fassie's latest professional move - signing with record label Universal - has raised eyebrows.

In a statement sent out by Universal, the label said Fassie had produced two albums for his former rap group, Jozi; and that Fassie has produced tracks for will.i.am from the Black Eyed Peas (BEP).

But Fassie's ex-manager, Lance Stehr of Ghetto Ruff Records, laughed this off.

He said: "Bongani did not produce the albums alone. On the second album of Jozi, he had help from Ishmael. He did eight tracks, while Ish did nine."


Stehr also denied that Fassie had ever worked with will.i.am.

"We never did. I had organised a workshop for BEP and will.i.am on their SA tour a couple of years ago," he explained to City Press.

"We were hoping to do a collaboration with them. When they arrived at the workshop in Soweto, BEP’s management didn't allow BEP to play, sing or rap."

But Fassie was insistent, saying:

"I worked with will.i.am when (BEP) were in South Africa. We recorded with the children from Soweto when I was with Jozi. The track we did was for my personal use, it was a song that was for the children."

Stehr said BEP spent just 20 minutes at the workshop and did not record anything.

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