Founder of the gospel music group Avante, Linda Gcwensa has died. The 47-year-old singer-songwriter from KwaMashu, north of Durban, has been unwell for a number of years and was admitted to hospital last week.
Avante enjoyed great success after they were spotted in 1993 by Mbongeni Ngema. Their debut album Yek’ iJerusalema reached gold status and their 2003 release ‘Qina’ went platinum.
“He was sick. As I think you know he’s been sick for years. He has been in and out of the hospital and he was getting better, you know. He had a problem with his kidneys. He died in hospital in the early hours of this (Sunday) morning around about 1:30 am. Even though the family will still confirm they said they will bury him at their farm, that’s a rural area at Mzembe that closer to Port Shepstone and then on Thursday there is a memorial service at ECC church, Ethekwini Community Church,” says Avante Manager, Sindisiwe Cele.
The remaining members of the group, Lucky Cele and James Langa are taking the death of Gcwensa very badly. This comes after two other members of the group passed away a few years ago.
Bongani Ngcobo and Sphiwe Khanyile passed away in 2004 and 2011 respectively.
“Oh they are not ok; they are depressed because you know they have lost another two members in the previous years, so now it’s opening the wounds. When we are talking about Linda Gcwensa and Avante he has written most of the hits of Avante and he has been the writer and the producer of Avante so basically he is the backbone to the group,” says Cele.