Respected and popular Westlake musician, Malamlela Foloti, 24, affectionately known as Lamza in the community, was stabbed to death in the early hours of Saturday October 15.
On Sunday October 23, the community commemorated his life and work at a musical memorial at the Westlake United Church Hall.
“That hall was too full,” said family friend Jonathan Nyaba, who had helped to organise the event. Hundreds of people attended the commemoration, he said, and children, whom Malamlela had given musical training too, performed in his honour.
“It shows he really had a bright future,” he said.
The memorial was arranged by his fellow musicians and friends. Beauty Foloti, Malamlela’s sister, said the family were touched by the memorial but were still mourning the great loss to their family.
“We are deeply hurt about this,” Beauty said. Malamlela, the youngest of nine, will be buried in the Eastern Cape, where his parents live, on Saturday October 29.
“I wished we could’ve been celebrating his wedding or graduation but we were celebrating someone who is going underground,” she said.
Beauty said Malamlela was respected in the community because of his work in numerous outreach projects.
“He was very popular, this child,” said Beauty. “He was teaching the children to sing.”
He was also part of the community’s youth forum and assisted Sharing Our Ubuntu Legacy (SOUL), a training and upliftment organisation.
Soul’s Tracy Stallard said: “He was a leader. And a real character. His death is a huge loss to the projects and all who knew him. He helped us with our organisation’s youth projects and with the music productions in Westlake.”
Malamlela also worked closely with Joesha Records, a grassroots productions company that gives free training and production to talented young people. Joesha’s director, Joe Mangisa, said: “He was good at everything he does.”
Joe said Malamlela was the leader of the company’s youth group.
Beauty said he worried about the youth of Westlake and used his musical mentorship to keep them out of mischief.
In his personal life he had planned to delay getting married and having a family so that he could buy his parents a house.
Jonathan said: “He had morals and values and stood up for what he believed in.” Malamlela, was a singer and actor. He played the piano and drums. He was also studying electrical, infrastructure and construction engineering at False Bay College.
On the night of his death, his sister Beauty said he left her home, where he visited nearly every night, in the late evening and “I went to sleep.”
She was awoken at about 3am by a neighbour.
“He said, ‘Your brother is dead.”
The neighbour told Beauty that Malamlela had been stabbed in the chest and was taken to Retreat Day Hospital. The family rushed to the hospital but were told by doctors that Malamlela had been dead on arrival.
Two of Malemlela’s friends later told the family what happened after he left. They said he had met up with them and a few others while on his way home and they went to a nearby, after-hours braai vendor to socialise.
Malamlela and one of the men got into an argument, allegedly about Malamlela touching his dreadlocks, and the man threatened him with a knife.
Beauty says Malamlela allegedly took the knife away and kept it.
Malamlela,whomBeauty described as “humble and peaceful”, tried to resolve the argument.
“He thought there was peace and said: ‘Don’t do this to me again. I was only playing with you’ and gave the knife back to him.”
The friends then carried on socialising. “About 15 minutes later he suddenly stood up and stabbed him,” Beauty said. “I am traumatised because if my brother had not given the knife back, he would have still been alive.”
The community, shocked by his sudden passing, have poured out their support to the family.
“I’m very happy that the community supported us,” Beauty said, adding that residents had even approached the braai vendor and asked them to close earlier.
“There is a lot of corruption in Westlake. There are shebeens that only open in the early hours of the morning. My brother is not the first and won’t be the last to die like that.”
Jonathan said: “Here we lost a talented boy, who had dreams, and a bright future.”
The man who had allegedly stabbed Malamlela was arrested and released on bail, Beauty said.
Kirstenhof police confirmed that the incident had taken place but provided no more details by the time the Bulletin went to print.